India | China | Taiwan | 05th November 2022 | Virtual Wire
Increased Chinese intervention in Taiwan has not disrupted the balance of international order but also changed the diplomatic course of regional titans like India.
Given how the world’s largest democracy shares a rich history of a long-standing commitment to principles of dialogue and negotiation, that form the very foundation of its calibrated foreign policy, such constraints could arguably raise potential eyebrows over its geo-strategic existence in the subcontinent. With its gradual shift from the “One China Policy”, India envisions greater ties with Taiwan through shared understanding across different spheres of international cooperation. However, social and economic implications in view of the Chinese brainchild of the “ Belt and Road Initiative”, is likely to bring about a profound bearing on its policy in Taiwan. This article examines all the aforementioned aspects with an insightful touch and puts forth propositions in the larger Indian context.
Broader Chinese Hegemony: An Introduction
Chinese motives have always raised numerous eyebrows across the world. Interpreted in light of the present scenario of a pandemic-stricken atmosphere, such perspectives have been further amplified. In what is explicitly referred to as, “The Wuhan Virus”, though a lot is still under speculation, there is no doubt that the very monumental presence of China, has diminished, owing to the resultant constrained diplomatic relationships, especially with the West. Two years have passed, ever since the pandemic wooed us into an array of uncertainties, however, nothing seems to have changed for the Chinese. On the 23rd of January, 2022, the Chinese Air force breached the Taiwan air space, by sending over 39 missiles into its air identification zone. Notwithstanding the several warnings from Taiwan’s Defence Ministry to the People’s Liberation Army, incursions were ramped up even further to denigrate the very sovereignty of the nation.
Out of the 39 warplanes that flanked the zone, 34 were fighter jets, one being a bomber and the other four comprised warplanes and intelligence-gathering planes, respectively. To a lay individual, this may seem strange and unique at a cursory glance, however, it isn’t. Moreover, this is not the first time, China unleashed its perilous prospects in Taiwan. In October 2021, over 150 planes were dispatched making incisive inroads into Taiwan’s national security, coinciding with “Chinese National Day”, considered a key national holiday. Such actions are said to have been executed across the Strait between mainland of Taiwan and China. Quite strikingly, such claims seemed to have been cast aside by the officials of the CCP, who in turn accused Taiwan of repeating the same activities on a much wider scale, during the course of the visit of Keith Krach, a senior US official.
Chinese stand on Taiwan
Over the years, China has hailed Taiwan, as an integral element of its nation, thereby stifling all sorts of international endeavours wholeheartedly to interfere. Chinese Foreign Minister has put forth that “ There should be no expectation from China, to compromise on issues of sovereignty and territorial integrity”. Such blistering remarks seemed to have etched a trail of destruction, and Taiwan has had to play the victim. Despite wholehearted promises, made by the Biden administration to stake all for the welfare of Taiwan, in order to combat the growing upheaval, triggered by ghastly Chinese ambitions in around the subcontinent, no substantive actions could be channelized. On the political front, China has never failed to impress the world with its prowess in meddling in the internal issues of any nation.
Similarly, in the case of Taiwan, it tried to flare up armed rebellions among the citizens, and also prodded opposition leaders into electoral malpractices, for the need for a government, which would cater to its whimsical policies. Not surprisingly, this was exactly manifested in the 2018 elections. The present government of the CCP under Xi Jinping has never spared any effort to historically clamp down on the ambitions of self-determination, as amplified by local activists of the region, arguing in favour of the stretch of Chinese hegemony. Premising such dastardly attacks on historical sources, it has virtually ensnared innocent citizens into submission.
Impending Implications for India
Indian stand on this so-called“One China Policy”, has rather been on the passive side. In order to restrain the successful takeover of a thriving democracy by an authoritarian state, she along with the international community should take gigantic strides towards the restoration of normalcy in this region. Despite inactive diplomatic ties since 1995, both India and Taiwan have endeavoured to maintain constructive electoral practices, with representative offices held between the two, as de facto embassies.
If China were to successfully capture Taiwan, perhaps a grave threat would loom over the balance of power in South East Asian politics. It would seem to fuel China’s monopolistic ambitions across the subcontinent, thereby thwarting India’s image as a potential global contender at large. Building on this, it is imperative that India streamlines its geopolitical stature, in the South East Asian region to fruitfully deal with the Chinese threat. Moreover, it should also develop conducive relations, not only with Taiwan but also with its neighbouring countries to gain support for the Taiwan issue, by exploring prudent diplomatic options.