by Brigadier Arun Bajpai (Retd)

Let there be no doubt that even though China has been brow beating us in all issues very dear to us, like membership of NSG and declaring Pakistani Jehadi Masood Azhar as global terrorist by the UN, we the Indians had been acting as subservient to China, lacking guts to annoy it. It is first time in Doklam in 2017 after 1962 that we stood firm against China and made it blink. It is difficult to believe that despite being independent for last 70 years, we do not have any diplomatic relations with Taiwan? The India-Taipei Association works as our de facto Embassy in Taiwan, While Taiwan maintains a cultural & Economic centre in New Delhi substituting for its embassy. Why? Are we that much afraid of China that we cannot independently decide where we should open our embassy or which country we recognise as sovereign? Just because China has warned us that we should not deviate from one China policy?

On 14 December India and Taiwan signed an MOU to promote mutual industrial cooperation. As per the English version released by Taiwan this MOU has been signed between two nations that is India and Taiwan. Needless to say it has raised the hackles of China. Chinese state controlled media has severely criticised India for signing this MOU. This is the fifth Bilateral MOU signed between Taiwan and India after the taking over of the new Taiwanese first women president TsaiIng-Wen in May 2016. By signing this MOUs Modi government is now telling the world that India is no more under Chinese awe and that we will act in the national interest.

Following 19 th Communist Party Congress of China, held in October this year ,where Chinese president Xi Xinping has emerged all powerful ,china has made it clear in words at least that it has undiluted plans to unify Taiwan with the main land China. It is worth remembering that china has been threatening to unite Taiwan with mainland China since 1949. It has failed to do so because of US and NATO protection to Taiwan. So the status quo continues. Taiwanese in any case do not want to join the main land china. However China opposes official contact between Taiwan and other countries.

In the final analysis the facts which emerge loud and clear in Indo-Taiwan relations are that while Taiwanese President Tsai is exploiting India’s strategic mistrust of China and expanding trade ties with India, India on the other hand has now developed gumption under PM, Modi to use Taiwan as bargaining chip in exchange for China support and concessions on its boundary disputes with China. India will have to understand that China will never be our trusted friend. Since 1948 it is beefing up Pakistan against India, to the extent of providing it nuclear bomb technology, just to keep India mired in South Asia. This is not going to change in future also. Since China understands only one language that power comes from barrel of a gun, India must make itself militarily strong at the earliest. At the same time India must develop bargaining chips with China like Taiwan where it can play the game of either-or?

Brig Arun Bajpai (Retd) is a distinguished Defence and Strategic Analyst. Views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of IDN. IDN does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same