NEW DELHI: A Taiwanese minister will travel to India this week with a 70-member trade delegation for wide-ranging talks on economic cooperation and to explore new opportunities at two business events, people familiar with the matter said.

The meeting between the deputy economic ministers of India and Taiwan is an annual affair though it has been held virtually for the past two years because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The visit by Chern-Chyi Chen, deputy minister of Taiwan’s economic affairs ministry, marks the resumption of in-person meetings.

“This is one of the highest platforms for interaction between the two sides. Besides economic issues, the deputy ministers’ forum can take up other important issues such as cooperation in science and technology,” one of the people cited above said.

The meeting of the deputy economic ministers is hosted alternatively by India and Taiwan.

The visit comes at a time when the Indian side is in talks with some of Taiwan’s biggest chipmakers such as Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co to set up plants in the country as part of the government’s plans to take the lead in hi-tech manufacturing. It also comes at a time when India’s ties with China are severely strained because of the military standoff on the Line of Actual Control (LAC).

The business delegation accompanying Chen, which will include representatives from some of Taiwan’s leading IT and tech companies, will participate in the 6th edition of the India-Taiwan Industrial Collaboration Summit organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Chinese National Federation of Industries (CNFI) on November 3. They will also join the first India-Taiwan CEOs roundtable later in the day.

The business summit has become an important mechanism to promote investment opportunities and collaboration between India and Taiwan, according to FICCI. One of the focus areas of the summit will be to encourage Taiwanese investments in India. It will also provide a platform to explore opportunities for collaboration in electronics manufacturing, smart cities, green technologies and smart automotive components.

Taiwan has also been pushing for a free trade agreement with India to remove barriers to trade and investment and to create resilient supply chains though the two sides haven’t made much headway despite a few rounds of talks since last year, the people said.

India and Taiwan do not have full-fledged diplomatic ties and established representative offices in each other’s capitals in 1995. Taiwan is currently India’s 16th largest trading partner and annual two-way trade is worth about $7 billion.

Following US Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan in August, China asked India to reiterate the “one-China” policy through diplomatic channels. However, India avoided any mention of the “one-China” policy as it opposed unilateral actions to change the status quo in the Taiwan Strait in its official response to tensions triggered by China’s military drills following Pelosi’s visit.