India-Taiwan Dialogue : Welcome remarks by Dr Arvind Gupta, Director, VIF

I would like to extend a hearty welcome to all the speakers and participants in today’s dialogue on India-Taiwan relations. I am grateful AmbGurunglal Das and AmabsaadorBaushuan Ger for participating in today’s dialogue. They are spearheading the efforts on both sides to deepen India Taiwan relations further.

I would also like to welcome Sh. Jaidev Ranade, Member of the National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) and President of Centre for China Analysis and Strategy; Mr Santosh Pai,International corporate lawyer, Partner with Link Legal India Law Services who advises Chinese and Taiwanese clients on Indian legal issues and Dr Gulshan Rai, Former National Cyber Security Coordinator, Government of India

I also welcome Dr Lai Yi-Chung賴怡忠, President of Prospect Foundation, Ms Kristy Hsu徐遵慈, Director of ASEAN Research Center, Chunghwa Institute for Economic Research, Dr Lee Yuh-Jye李育杰, Executive Director of Research Center for Information Technology Innovation, AcademiaSinica; and Dr Ketty W Chen, Vice President, Taiwan Democracy Foundation.

It is a matter of satisfaction that high-level attention is being given on both sides to take India Taiwan relations to a higher orbit. The bilateral trade was USD 7 billion in 2019. Given the size of the two economies, this figure is much below the actual potential. There is an urgent need to redress the situation as better India Taiwan trade and economic relations will be mutually beneficial.

Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy and the government of India’s Make in India program provide the framework for increasing Taiwanese investment in India. A number of sectors hold promise. Apart from the high-tech sectors like semiconductor chip fabrication, electronics et cetera, there is huge potential in agriculture research, food processing, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and healthcare. The science and technology agreement between the two sides should be fully leveraged to enhance cooperation in these areas. It is also worthwhile to look at a bilateral free trade agreement. About 10 years ago the study was done to explore the potential of a free trade agreement. We should revive those discussions.

People to people contacts are the backbone of any flourishing bilateral relationship. This field is relatively underexplored. Tourism and education sectors need high-level attention.

The post-Covid era War offers new opportunities for bilateral cooperation. Both countries will be required to deal with health risks, disastrous, climate change, and the issues of food and energy security. India has a highly ambitious programme of increasing the share of renewable energy in the overall energy mix. Indian and Taiwan should look at these areas for cooperation.

Taiwan has done very well in dealing with the coronavirus crisis. There is a lot that other countries can learn from Taiwanese experience. India, a country of 1.3 billion population, has done reasonably well in fighting the coronavirus. The daily caseload in India has been steadily coming down for the last several weeks. The mortality rate is also amongst the lowest in the world. India is conducting nearly a million coronavirus tests every day for the last several months. It is at the forefront of Coronavirus vaccine research. Several Indian made vaccines are being developed. In this period, India has emerged as a pharmacy of the world. India and Taiwan could enhance their cooperation in public health as well as diagnostics.

Friends, in the last few months the geopolitical environment has changed quite dramatically. The world is being compelled to deal with a rising China which has made no bones about its ambition to shape the world in its own image. Both India and Taiwan are facing heat from China. Its assertiveness in the region has grown. The need to keep Indo Pacific region free and open has never been greater. The emergence of the Quad in the context of Indo Pacific cannot be overestimated. The changed geopolitical environment provides a rare opportunity for the two sides to strengthen their cooperation.

In an interconnected, digital world, cybersecurity and data security or prime concerns. Indian Taiwan can look to enhance their cooperation in this area as well. We have a special session devoted to cybersecurity issues.
I now request Ambassador Baushuan Ger to make his remarks. This will be followed by remarks by Amb Gurunglal Das.

Vivekananda International Foundation

Dialogue on India Taiwan relations, 18 December 2020, New Delhi

On 18th December 2020 ,The Vivekananda International Foundation held a virtual dialogue on India-Taiwan relations in which leading experts from India and Taiwan participated. Ambassador Gurunglal Das, Director-General of India Taiwan Association, Taipeh and AmbBaushuan Ger, Reprenetativeof the Taiwan Economic And Cultural Centre, New Delhi also addressed the participants.

There was a feeling that India both sides should take advantage of the current geopolitical situation which has turned quite anti-China. China has become highly assertive and aggressive. Its economy cannot continue to grow at the high rates of earlier years. Many companies are moving out of China. The global value supply chains have been seriously disrupted. Taiwanese companies are looking for new destinations for their investment. The Indian market and the long-term growth potential attractsthem. Not being familiar with India, they are apprehensive about the uncertainties of doing business with India. They are preferring Southeast Asia over India. India would need to adopt a more systematic approach to attract Taiwanese investment.

The participants analysed the present status of India Taiwan trade and economic relations and strongly recommended that both sides should start negotiations on signing an Economic Cooperation Agreement or a Free Trade Agreement based on a joint study that was done by ICRIER and Centre of Economic Research in Taiwan in 2011. The findings of this 400-page study were presented in 2013. But no forward movement has happened. This is a good time to update the study and make it the basis for negotiations on an FTA.

Amb Ger said that the recent incident of attack on Wistron company in Karnataka with supplies parts to Apple iPhone has been widely reported in Taiwan has created doubts and apprehension amongst investors in Taiwan. Investors need to be reassured through high-level intervention.

Cybersecurity presents a excellent area for hardware and software cooperation. To this one can add the emerging areas of artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and robotics which are also the fields in which Taiwan has strong competencies. The informal contacts between the institutions of the two sides should be converted into formal arrangements. Industry specific forums should be created to take the India Taiwan economic and commercial relationship to the next level.

Taiwan National Security Council has prepared a task force report which suggests that Taiwan would be prepared to share its semiconductor chipmaking technologies with India. India should respond suitably.

The role of the two governments in enhancing India Taiwan relations is indispensable. They should show greater ambition in taking the relationship forward.

More than 98% of Taiwanese businesses or small and medium enterprises. They are usually apprehensive of moving out. India should make an outreach to them. South-east Asian countries have been extremely active in reaching out to Taiwanese investors. Only 1% of what Taiwan invested in Vietnam in recent years has come to India. This is too little. India should reach out to Taiwanese investors more aggressively. India and Taiwan could also explore trilateral business corporations involving India-Japan-Taiwan and India-Taiwan-the US companies. That will instil confidence in the Taiwanese investors.

Mr Ger highlighted that Taiwan’s flagship Century Development Corporationproject is very important as it aims to bring 20 to 25 Taiwanese high-tech manufacturing companies to India. Unfortunately, the contract with the Karnataka government has run into difficulties. This will have a negative impact on the investors. If the project is successful, more such projects can be set up in other parts of India. The government should help in resolving the issues.

China’s threat is growing. Xi Jinping would like to leave a legacy behind. The year 2027 when Xi Jinping’s term would end. That would be a very dangerous for Taiwan. Biden administration is likely to reduce pressure on China. Having dealt with the coronavirus pandemic better than the US, China is bubbling with confidence and feels that the US is in permanent decline.

India and Taiwan should enhance their security cooperation through intelligence exchanges, cybersecurity et cetera. Taiwan is a democracy. It supports India’s membership of the UN Security Council. India should stand with Taiwan to help it get membership of the various UN fora. India should deemphasise the China factor in India Taiwan relations.


Facing Chinese heat, the Taiwanese side conveyed their desire to deepen its relations with India in all areas. There they feel that India should revise its one-China policy (AmbGer) anddelink India-Taiwan relationship from China factor. The relationship needs to be formalised and institutionalised to tap the enormous potential. New initiatives need to be taken. A comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement shall be concluded as soon as possible. They request India to stand with Taiwan and international fora and help it get membership of the international organisations

Many countries who have deep relations with China also have equally deep ties with Taiwan. South-east Asian countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Malaysia are examples. India could also follow that model.. India needs to step up its outreach to Taiwanese investors. Taiwan is prepared to invest in semiconductor chip fabrication in India. India need to make suitable proposals in this regard.

Think Tank level dialogues are useful and should be continued. The VIF will pursue this track in the coming year.

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