Why in News: –
India and Taiwan are celebrating 25 years of their partnership.
GS-2: IR/ Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.
The growing relationship between India- Taiwan has been a low-key affair as India has been hesitant to acknowledge the improving ties in public.
The mutual efforts between India and Taiwan have enabled a range of bilateral agreements covering agriculture, investment, customs cooperation, civil aviation, industrial cooperation and other areas, the time has come to recalibrate India-Taiwan relations.
Background of India and Taiwan Trade:
- In 2007, bilateral trade between the two sides had risen 80% to reach US$4.8 billion. In 2019, India – Taiwan trade volume was US$7 billion, growing at a rate of 20% year after year.
- Major Taiwanese exports to India include integrated circuits, machinery and other electronic products.
- Notably, with already US$7 billion in bilateral trade and over US$350 million worth of Taiwanese investment in India, Foxconn is reportedly considering a US$1 billion push to expand its iPhone assembly operations in the country.
- Taiwan’s relations with India have increased in breadth spanning trade, research and academia as well depth trade ties amounted to $7.5 billion in 2019, up from $1 billion in 2000.
Political will is the key for India and Taiwan:
- Creating a political framework is a prerequisite to doing this.
- Both partners have increasingly deepened mutual respect underpinned by openness, with democracy and diversity as the key principles for collective growth.
- The shared faith in freedom, human rights, justice, and rule of law continues to embolden their partnership.
- To make this relationship more meaningful, both sides can create a group of empowered persons or a task force to chart out a road map in a given time frame.
- India’s has been in the forefront of the fight against COVID-19.
- Likewise, Taiwan’s handling of the pandemic and its support to many other countries underlines the need to deepen healthcare cooperation.
- India and Taiwan already collaborate in the area of traditional medicine.
- The time is ripe to expand cooperation in the field of healthcare.
- Maintaining air quality has become a mammoth challenge for the Indian government and stubble burning is an important reason for severe air pollution.
- Taiwan could be a valuable partner in dealing with this challenge through its bio-friendly technologies.
- Such methods are applied to convert agricultural waste into value-added and environmentally beneficial renewable energy or biochemicals.
- This will be a win-win situation as it will help in dealing with air pollution and also enhance farmers’ income.
- Further, New Delhi and Taipei can also undertake joint research and development initiatives in the field of organic farming.
Cultural Connect: –
- India and Taiwan need to deepen people-to-people connect.
- Cultural exchange is the cornerstone of any civilisational exchange.
- It not only helps one appreciate another culture but also helps in overcoming prejudices and cultural misunderstanding. Tourism is the key tool in this exchange.
- However, Taiwanese tourists in India are a very small number.
- The Buddhist pilgrimage tour needs better connectivity and visibility, in addition to showcasing incredible India’s diversity.
- This will accelerate the flow of Taiwanese tourists.
- With the Taiwan Tourism Bureau partnering with Mumbai Metro, Taiwan is trying to raise awareness about the country and increase the inflow of Indian tourists.
- Trade relations have grown. India’s huge market provides Taiwan with investment opportunities.
- Taiwan’s reputation as the world leader in semiconductor and electronics complements India’s leadership in ITES (Information Technology-Enabled Services).
- This convergence of interests will help create new opportunities.
- India’s recent strides in the ease of business ranking not only provide Taiwan with lucrative business opportunities but also help it mitigate its over-dependence on one country for investment opportunities.
- The signing of a bilateral trade agreement in 2018 was an important milestone.
- There are around 200 Taiwanese companies in the field of electronics, construction, petrochemicals, machine, Information and Communications Technology and auto parts operating in India.
- Despite the huge potential, Taiwan investments have been paltry in India.
- Taiwanese firms find the regulatory and labour regime daunting with stray incidents such as the incident in the Wistron plant last year creating confusion and mistrust.
Way Forward: –
- The Taiwanese government has a representative office, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India (TECC), responsible for facilitating collaboration on education, tourism, culture, the media, and economic development.
- Taiwan’s increased investments have occurred in the face of cultural challenges, bureaucratic hurdles, and pressure on India from domestic producers.
- Enhancing Taiwan-India relations is consistent with the Taiwanese government’s efforts to decrease economic reliance on China and with President Tsai Ing- wen’s New Southbound Policy (NSP), which improves upon the efforts of several of her predecessors.
- India and Taiwan policy and policymakers need to coordinate better with the business community to help them navigate the regulatory and cultural landscape for better ties.
Creating a political framework is a prerequisite to increase the breadth spanning trade, research and academia as well multi-sectoral growth in ties between India and Taiwan. Discuss.