India says Taiwan team is non-political

MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

MEA spokesperson Vikas Swarup.

India on Wednesday moved to stabilise ties with China, saying there was nothing political in the ongoing visit of a delegation from Taiwan, which criticised Beijing’s One China policy.

India’s statement came after China filed a diplomatic protest after the delegation argued that Taiwan’s independence is an international reality.

“We understand that a group of Taiwanese academics and business persons, including a couple of legislators, is visiting India. Such informal groups have visited India in the past as well for business, religious and tourist purposes. I understand that they do so to China as well. There is nothing new or unusual about such visits and political meanings should not be read into them,” said the spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs, Vikas Swarup.

The statement, which came within hours of a major dinner hosted by BJP leader Ram Madhav in Delhi in honour of the delegation, is significant in view of the fact that Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar is expected to visit Beijing within a week. This will be the first high-level visit from India to Beijing in 2017.

At a briefing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Gen. Shuang said: “We hope India would understand and respect China’s core concerns and stick to the ‘One China’ principle and prudently deal with Taiwan-related issues and maintain sound and steady development of India-China relations.”

“The reason why China lodged the representation is because that we have been requiring countries that have diplomatic relations with China to fulfil their commitment to the ‘One China policy,” he said.

Tougher criticism of the Taiwanese visit came from the government-backed publication Global Times which described India as a “provocateur.”

“Some Indians view the Taiwan question as an Achilles’ heel of the mainland. They have long wanted to use the Taiwan question and the South China Sea and Dalai Lama issues as bargaining chips in dealing with China,” said Global Times and added: “By challenging China over the Taiwan question, India is playing with fire.”

The newspaper said India’s position of hosting the delegation goes against the policy of U.S.President Donald Trump who has also indicated his willingness to support the One China policy.

The Hindu had earlier reported that leader of the delegation Kuan Bi Ling had emphasised that Taiwan’s freedom and sovereignty is a reality in international affairs.

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Printable version | Jul 1, 2022 8:07:40 am |