Can India Leverage Taiwan’s Lai Moment?
In late January, at a reception commemorating India’s Republic Day anniversary – marking the day India officially adopted its constitution 75 years ago and became a sovereign republic – India’s representative to Taiwan, Manharsinh Laxmanbhai Yadav, congratulated Taiwan’s president-elect, Lai Ching-te of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP). In praising Taiwan’s successful “democracy in action” at a significant official event, India has also laid bare its intent: the gradual movement toward embracing Taiwan as a separate democratic entity, without necessarily developing official diplomatic relations.
Between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sending representatives to virtually attend President Tsai Ing-wen’s oath-taking ceremony in 2020 to the Indian envoy’s clear acknowledgment of the “smooth and peaceful transfer of power” in 2024, we can see the significant change in India’s recent approach to Taiwan.
Obviously, Lai’s victory implies a continuity in Taiwan’s foreign policy objectives pursued under the Tsai administration. Despite Lai being seen as an advocate for Taiwan’s sovereignty, and called by China a “secessionist” and “trouble maker,” it is unlikely that Lai, who is currently Tsai’s vice president, will pursue an overtly antagonistic path vis-à-vis China. Although he has reiterated that Taiwan’s independence does not need to be declared as it is already a reality, Lai has also been pragmatic by staying away from war-making rhetoric and emphasizing the need to maintain the cross-strait status quo.
Nonetheless, China will hardly be appeased or change its aggressive course on Taiwan owing to such nuances in speech. In particular, Taiwan’s ties with democratic Indo-Pacific states like India will continue to be on Beijing’s radar, with implications for both Taiwan domestically and cross-strait politics.
Any such developments are bound to affect India’s foreign policy trajectory in times to come. So, what does the DPP victory result mean for India going forward, given that India envisions itself as an Indo-Pacific power in the reckoning? Can India afford to be lackadaisical about its strategic engagement with Taiwan especially in the emerging Indo-Pacific construct?
Read this full article by Jagannath Panda written for The Diplomat on February 2, 2024.
India-Japan-Philippines: A Strategic Maritime Trilateral or More?
Regional states like India, Japan, and the Philippines have been seeking cooperative solutions with other middle powers that can both counter the Chinese influence and fulfill other economic as well […]
South Korea as a Nuclear State: Trade-Offs and Choices
South Korea’s launch of its own Indo-Pacific strategy in December 2022 started the country’s ascent into “strategic clarity” for the US-led Indo-Pacific construct, winning favor with Washington for this policy […]
South Korea’s Indo-Pacific Strategy, Atmanirbhar Bharat, and the IPEF: Convergence and Commonality
For some time now, the existing multilateral networks such as those of the United Nations (UN) system have been largely ineffective in providing good global governance and helping create resilience, […]
India in a world of asymmetrical multipolarity
In the past decade, the world has gathered an irreversible momentum in global geopolitical transitions, including the fragmentation and reconfiguration of the international order. This is largely due to the […]
Can the China-India Bilateral Gain Momentum in 2023?
The Tawang incident in December 2022 was not a surprise. Both India and China have been steadily investing in border infrastructure development as their respective forces have entered into clashes […]