UNESCO Peace Chair says India does not include Taiwan in 'one China'

Nalapat says 'Taiwan is not a card to be played' but is an 'opportunity to be grasped'

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(Twitter, Gaurav C Sawant image)

(Twitter, Gaurav C Sawant image)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — In an interview with Indian media on Tuesday (Oct. 13) a UNESCO Peace Chair stated that to his knowledge, India does not include Taiwan in its definition of "one China."

On Oct. 7, after full-page advertisements appeared in Indian newspapers announcing that India's WION would broadcast a 25-minute special report on Taiwan's National Day event, the Chinese embassy in Delhi sent a threatening letter to Indian media outlets, admonishing them that there is "only one China in the world" and that the autocracy in Beijing is the "sole legitimate government representing the whole of China." In defiance of Chinese pressure tactics, Tajinder Pal Singh Bagga, spokesman for the New Delhi office of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on National Day (Oct. 10) posted 100 signs displaying the Taiwanese flag and the words “Taiwan Happy National Day October 10" outside the Chinese embassy in Delhi.

Since then, Indian media outlets have continued to publish reports about Taiwan and its status as a separate country from China. On Tuesday, TheNews21 interviewed Madhav Nalapat, a UNESCO Peace Chair and prominent Indian academician and columnist about his take on Taiwan.

When Nalapat was asked to comment on China's attempts to muzzle India's media, he said that this shows "how little the Chinese embassy understands the mood in India." The news agency then asked Nalapat to comment on the controversy in Indian social media over the fact that the country's External Affairs Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar posted a tweet sending best wishes on communist China's National Day on Oct. 1, while staying silent on Taiwan's National Day nine days later.

Nalapat responded by saying that one India "accepts the ‘One-China policy,’ there is to my recollection no record of ever including Taiwan in the definition of ‘One China,' unlike Russia, Pakistan and other PRC allies."

The next question shifted to India-Taiwan relations and his previous statements hoping for "vigorous engagements" between the two countries. Nalapat said that relations have improved greatly and that "Both sides are multiplying contacts with each other."

As for his take on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approach towards China and Taiwan, Nalapat said that Modi "will never compromise on security, unlike some of his predecessors," in reference to border tensions with China. In the case of Taiwan, he said that Modi has developed Taiwan relations more during his tenure than any other leader since "PM Narasimha Rao normalised ties during his tenure."

In terms of economic ties between Taiwan and India, Nalapat said that Taiwanese companies have rapidly increased their investments in India, especially over the past four years. When asked about a bilateral free trade agreement he had proposed in 2012, Nalapat said that "A de facto free trade pact in my view is likely during Modi 2.0."

Lastly, when asked if India should continue to play "the Taiwan card" based on the current situation in the region, Nalapat responded by saying that "Taiwan is not a card to be played. It is an opportunity to be grasped."