By Chung-Kwang Tien,Representative of Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India | JUNE 6, 2019
The largest and the most arduous election in India has accomplished with great success. On behalf of the government and people of the Republic of China (Taiwan), I wish to extend our hearty congratulations to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Hon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the landslide victory in the recently concluded 17th Lok Sahba election. The election was widely commended for demonstrating once again India’s strong democratic foundation as well as the Indian people’s stanch support and recognition for the National Democratic Alliance’s (NDA) Government under the dynamic leadership of the Prime Minister Modi.
With shared common values of freedom, democracy and human rights, Taiwan and India are natural partners as well as important stakeholders in the Indo-Pacific region. Since the establishment of representative offices in the respective capital in 1995, there has been steady progress in the relationship in the various spheres between India and Taiwan.
Annual two way trade of the two countries increased from $1.2 billion in 2000 to $7 billion last year. It is expected to raise to $10 billion in the next few years. There has been a rise in Taiwan’s investment in past years. In 2018 there are 105 Taiwanese companies working in different sectors of India economy with a total investment around $1.5 billion.
Over the years, Taiwan has set up 14 language centers in Indian universities and other educational institutions for the purposes of not only to provide Madarin Chinese language training but also to make connection between our two young generations. So far there are more than 6,000 Indian students have been benefited from the training program. Apart from that, Taiwan encourages India students to study in Taiwan and awards nearly 100 scholarships for Indian university students annually. Currently there are about 2,400 students pursuing their higher education in Taiwan.
Science, technology and agricultural cooperation between the two countries is also on the increasing trajectory in the past year. As of May 2019, nearly 90 projects and joint proposals have been carried out while 24 seminars have been held annually. India and Taiwan held its first Joint Working Committee Meeting for Agriculture, Husbandry and Fishery Cooperation in 2017, in which a very positive road map for the future cooperation in those fields had been drawn. The Second Joint Working Committee Meeting will be held in the latter part of this year.
In recent years, cultural and people-to –people exchanges between India and Taiwan have been on the increase. In addition to the Taiwan films being screened annually in major film festivals of India, performing art groups and Youth Ambassador delegations have been welcomed by Indian society.
I would like to take this opportunity to express sincere appreciation for Prime Minister Modi and the NDA government for the support and good efforts in enhancing collaboration and substantial relations between India and Taiwan in the last five years. Most notably is the signing of the Bilateral Investment Agreement on December 18 2018 between Taiwan and India. This Agreement is one of the very first agreements India has signed with the countries which consider India as a great investment destination. While extending cordial congratulations for Prime Minister Modi’s second term and the new NDA government, Taiwan looks forward to strengthening even more close cooperation relationship with India. We strongly believe that India and Taiwan are natural partners with no issues and baggages at all. As the two nations are complementary to each other in many areas and given Taiwan’s rich experience and expertise in the fields of hardware manufacturing, infrastructure, information and communication technology, AI and food processing and others, Taiwan could play a vital role in the India’s governments “Make in India”, “Digital India”, “Skill India ” and ”Smart Cities ” initiatives.
Finally, I wish to echo professor C. Raja Mohan’s comment in his article “Modi’s Taiwan Opportunity “ published in May 29 in the India Express. “There are at least three reasons why Dehli shall take a fresh look at Taiwan and replace its current incrementalism with a more ambitious policy,” and “ What the bilateral relations now need is high-level political attention in Delhi to make things happen and quickly….”
There is no doubt that Taiwan is surely a valuable partner for India. Taiwan’s contribution to India will never and could not be a liability but a great asset to India Government and people. As India is a key partner under Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, we sincerely believe that India will cherish its relationship with Taiwan and wish that India and Taiwan will continue to work together to further strengthen the bilateral relationship and cooperation in areas such as economy and trade, science and technology, cultural, education and people to people exchanges in the next 5 years, so as to jointly advance peace, prosperity, security and development for the two countries and Indo – Pacific region.
The Economic Times Blog