TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A private meeting between Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je and the deputy mayor of India's capital, New Delhi, was said to have been arranged on Friday, according to people familiar with the matter, but the mayor shied away from questions concerning the meeting.
Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) has embarked on an eight-day trip in Malaysia, Thailand and India to promote his city as a tourist destination and as a competitive business hub. The trip is also intended to promote the 2017 Summer Universiade as the city will host the matches in August.
Any meetings between Taiwanese politicians and Indian officials are subject to the approval of India’s Ministry of External Affairs, which reportedly didn’t give a green light to a meeting planned between Ko and the mayor of New Delhi, while another meeting with the deputy mayor was arranged at the last minute Friday afternoon, with a precondition of confidentiality, the Central News Agency reported.
Asked by the reporters about their whereabouts for the three hours of a schedule break Friday afternoon, both Taiwan’s Representative to India Tien Chung-kwang (田中光) and Ko declined to talk about it.
Accompanied by several Taiwanese hardware manufacturers, Ko made his last official stop to New Delhi and arrived there late Wednesday. He visited Indian Institutes of Technology and the Gandhi Memorial Museum, and, on Friday morning, attended an industry forum prior to the rumored meeting with the deputy mayor of New Delhi.
In the industry forum attended by more than a hundred India-based Taiwanese businessmen, Ko said that there is plenty on tap in India and urged Taiwanese companies not to over-rely on China in their investment plan. Less than one hundred Taiwanese companies registered a business in India, Ko added.
India is among several countries in South and Southeast Asia targeted in the ongoing New Southbound Policy under President Tsai Ing-wen's (蔡英文) administration - including the Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Taiwan has been keen on boosting cooperation with India and its direct investment in the country has been warmly welcomed.