Taiwanese legislative group vows to enhance relations with India

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Taiwanese lawmakers are hoping for closer ties with India 

Taiwanese lawmakers are hoping for closer ties with India  (CNA photo)

The new leadership of the Legislative Yuan's India friendship group vowed Friday to further enhance relations with India through parliamentary diplomacy amid the warming of sentiments between Taiwan and India.

In an event to mark the handover of the leadership of the Taiwan-India Parliamentary Friendship Association, Legislator Wu Yu-chin (吳玉琴), the group's new chairwoman, said she will promote bilateral parliamentary exchanges.

"We hope we can form a delegation to visit India's parliament when the COVID-19 pandemic subsides. The objectives of the association are to promote parliamentary dialogue as well as freedom and democracy," Wu said.

She thanked India's media for their support of Taiwan over a National Day spat involving the Chinese embassy in New Delhi.

According to Indian media reports, the Chinese embassy warned Indian journalists not to refer to Taiwan as a "country" in their reporting of Taiwan's Oct. 10 National Day events.

However, Beijing's action backfired, resulting in negative responses from India in general, with many Indian netizens posting messages on social media in support of Taiwan.

A spokesperson of India's Ministry of External Affairs on Oct. 8 said that the country's media is free and can report on issues as it sees fit.

A political figure in India on Oct. 9 placed posters outside the Chinese embassy in New Delhi printed with the flag of the Republic China -- the formal name of Taiwan -- and the words wishing Taiwan a happy National Day.

Meanwhile, Gourangalal Das, director-general of the India Taipei Association, India's de facto embassy in Taiwan, said in his remarks that he sees the Taiwan-India Parliamentary Friendship Association as a bridge connecting the people of India and Taiwan.

"There is great admiration and recognition in India for Taiwan's many achievements on all fronts," he said, making special mention of Taiwanese people's collective efforts in containing the COVID-19 pandemic.

Das expressed hope that Taiwan and India can have more cooperation, especially in the fields of investment, IT hardware and software, smart agriculture, precision medicine, skills training and industrial automation.

Figures provided by Taiwan's foreign ministry showed that bilateral trade between Taiwan and India was a meager US$5.8 billion in 2019 and that currently, there are about 106 Taiwanese companies operating in India.

According to information provided by the Taiwan-India Parliamentary Friendship Association, it has about 70 members at present, 43 of whom are legislators.

The association has visited India in 2014 and again in 2017. (By Emerson Lim)