An interaction was held with a Taiwanese delegation from Prospects Foundation at the VIF on 6 November 2013. The five member Taiwanese delegation was led by Dr. Tzong-Ho Bau, Vice Chairman of the Foundation. Dr Frances Chung, Deputy Representative, Taiwan Economic and Cultural Centre, New Delhi was also present. Other members from Taiwan were Mr. Yang Ming Sun, Vice President Prospects Foundation, Dr. Edward I-Hsin Chen, Dr. Vincent Wen-Hsien Chen and Darren YH Chang.
Mr Ajit Doval, KC, Director VIF began the discussion by emphasizing that relations between India and Taiwan has tremendous potential and the two sides need to further enhance co-operation in various fields particularly technology and trade. At present, the volume of India’s trade and investments with Taiwan is not at an optimal level. Mr Doval focused on Taiwan’s unique model of diplomacy where the thrust is on conflict avoidance, especially with reference to its relations with mainland China. Dr Tzong-Ho Bau deliberated upon Taiwan’s economic integration with the ASEAN countries and on trade dependencies between the Republic of China and People’s Republic of China.
The VIF faculty and the Taiwan delegation interacted closely on issues such as internal stability in China, position of China’s economy, progress of inner party democracy within the Chinese Communist Party and prospects of democracy in China. Other pressing issues such as US-China relations, Taiwan’s stance on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) were also discussed. Taiwan is more inclined towards joining RCEP as bulk of its economic exports is with South East Asian countries. The Indian side also shared their perspectives on broad contours of India-China relations including the unresolved boundary issue and co-operation between India and China at global forums like WTO and UN.
The two sides were unanimous in their view that India and Taiwan need to bolster the level of their partnership with special emphasis on signing a free trade agreement and exchanging reciprocal visits between senior ministers of both countries. In the field of economy, the two countries have a great potential for developing mutual benefits in the IT, manufacturing, food processing and agricultural sectors. The Taiwanese side was especially keen on increasing people to people contact between India and Taiwan. They pointed out that India has the potential of becoming a major tourist destination for Taiwanese tourists but at present only about 10,000 of nearly 10 million Taiwanese foreign tourists visit India. They were of the opinion that a Visa waiver programme with India would accelerate the flow of Taiwanese tourists to India. Taiwan desires that India includes it among the 40 countries to whose citizens it is considering granting tourist visas on arrival.