Avoid unilateral action to alter Taiwan status quo, says India

New Delhi calls for de-escalation of tensions

August 12, 2022 05:17 pm | Updated August 13, 2022 09:41 am IST - New Delhi

Soldiers fire 155mm howitzers during an annual live fire military exercise in Pingtung county, southern Taiwan on August 11, 2022.

Soldiers fire 155mm howitzers during an annual live fire military exercise in Pingtung county, southern Taiwan on August 11, 2022. | Photo Credit: Reuters

India on August 12, 2022 indirectly called upon China to not alter the "status quo" around Taiwan, and cautioned that the current situation should not lead to any "unilateral action". Addressing the weekly press briefing, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi refrained from spelling out India's clear position on the 'One China' policy but conveyed the impression that India's stand on China's claims over Taiwan is linked to Beijing's persistent unwillingness to support India's campaign against Pakistan-based terror elements.

Significantly, India’s comments on the Taiwan crisis came a day after China placed a technical hold on an India-backed proposal at the UN Security Council to blacklist the deputy chief of Pakistan-based terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed. 

"Like many other countries, India too is concerned at recent developments. We urge the exercise of restraint, avoidance of unilateral actions to change status quo, de-escalation of tensions and efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region," said Mr Bagchi.

India has been maintaining a studied silence on the situation as China halted the military drill near Taiwan but announced that its "war preparation" would continue. As the crisis intensified over the U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan, China intensified global diplomacy and reached out to countries in Southeast and South Asia seeking support for its 'One China' policy. A Spokesperson of the Embassy of China here earlier had said that 170 countries have supported the 'One China' policy and that China would not "renounce" the option of force in dealing with Taiwan.

When asked about India's position on the 'One China' policy, Mr Bagchi said, "India's relevant policies are well known and consistent. They do not require reiteration." The official comments from the Indian side reflect New Delhi's disappointment over the "technical hold" that China placed on the listing for Jaish e Mohammed leader Abdul Rauf Asghar at the UN Security Council on August 11. Mr Bagchi described the Chinese move that prevented the blacklisting of Mr Asghar as "unfortunate" and "most uncalled for".

India's strong position against terrorism found special resonance because of the latest terror attack in Rajouri that led to the death of four soldiers. Leading Indian figures earlier had also indicated that India's ambiguity on 'One China' policy is also the result of China's infrastructure projects in the Pakistan occupied Kashmir and the Gilgit Baltistan region.

Apart from China's unwillingness to support India's counter terror goals at the UNSC, India-China ties in recent weeks were hampered by the planned arrival of China's intelligence gathering ship Yuan Wang 5 at Sri Lanka's Hambantota port.

During Friday's briefing, the Official Spokesperson denied India exerted pressure on Sri Lanka to prevent the dual use ship from reaching Hambantota and connected the maritime security concerns of India with the India-China tension along the Line of Actual control adding, 'With regard to our security concerns, this is the sovereign right of every country. We will make the best judgement in our own interest. This naturally takes into account the prevailing situation in our region, especially in the border areas."

Update on Yuan Wang 5

After August 11, the Chinese vessel’s scheduled date of arrival, Sri Lankan authorities refused to comment on whether the ship called at Hambantota. The Hindu contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Defence on Friday, but officials did not confirm if the vessel arrived.

In the only official comment from the Sri Lankan side so far, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday said it had communicated to the Chinese Embassy to “defer the visit” of the said vessel to the Hambantota port, “in light of the need for further consultations”. However, it did not indicate if Beijing had acceded its request. In the same statement, the Ministry reaffirmed its “enduring friendship and excellent relations” with China and underscored its “firm commitment” to the ‘One China Policy’.

Meanwhile, PNS Taimur, Pakistan’s recently commissioned Chinese-built frigate warship, arrived at the Colombo port on Friday, the Sri Lankan Navy said. The vessel is berthed in Colombo amid reports that Bangladesh denied it permission to dock at Chattogram Port. “PNS Taimur is expected to conduct a naval exercise with the Sri Lanka Navy in western seas on its departure on 15th August,” the Sri Lankan Navy said in a statement.

(With inputs from Meera Srinivasan)

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