Did India Skip Taiwan President’s Swearing-in To Appease China?

Tsai Ing-wen is the first female president in Taiwan. 

2 min read
Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen, cheers the audience attending the inauguration ceremony in Taipei. (Photo: AP)

Soon after naming two parliamentarians to attend the event, India backtracked from sending representatives to the swearing-in ceremony of Taiwanese President-elect Tsai Ing-wen on Friday, according to a Hindustan Times report.

While the Tsai-led Democratic Progress Party (DPP), taking over for a four-year term prepares a fresh policy which will focus on strengthening Indo-Taiwan relations, India had no official representative at the ceremony.

There is disappointment in the (Taiwan) government at India’s decision not to send parliamentarians. Taiwan’s first woman president is taking oath. It was a good opportunity for India to show solidarity.
Taiwanese Official to Hindustan Times

According to the report, India follows the “One China” policy and does not recognise Taiwan as a country. However the reason for accepting the invitation from Taipei and then backtracking remained unclear.

Officials in India remain confident that the absence of an Indian representative at the ceremony will not affect relations. However, diplomatic circles in Taipei are already suspecting that the move was to appease China, said the report.

Incidentally President Pranab Mukherjee is slated to visit Guangzhou and Beijing this week. Mukherjee will be in China between 24 and 27 May, and an Indian presence in Taipei may have been difficult to explain as China considers Taiwan a “breakaway province”.

According to the report: “The New Southbound Policy Office (SBPO), which will directly function under the Taiwanese president, will focus on strengthening all-round ties with the ASEAN and South Asia, particularly India”.

In Tsai’s speech at the DPP anniversary in September last year, she said strengthening overall relations was a natural course of action for Taiwan. According to the report, officials also added that Taiwan’s renewed focus on India could have a positive effect on campaigns like “Make in India” and “Digital India”.

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