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Sanket Telang asked: Why doesn't India develop better ties with Taiwan? Can't we use it as Leverage against China?

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  • Jagannath P. Panda replies: India has good relations with Taiwan. But the scope for improvement in security and strategic issues is limited because of official/diplomatic constraints. Officially, India endorses the ‘one-China’ policy. That means, India officially acknowledges the legitimacy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) as the legitimate entity of both ‘mainland China and Taiwan’. Despite this, India-Taiwan relations have expanded at commercial, cultural and scientific levels.

    Using Taiwan against China was an old strategic choice for India. India didn’t really focus on this aspect when the pro-independence movement was at its peak during the DPP regime in Taiwan. Nevertheless, I am not sure if India would like to pursue this strategy in future. Taiwan is slowly moving towards mainland China; and sooner or later both the PRC and Taiwan would be preparing the ground for unification. In that context, it is incorrect to argue that India can use Taiwan as leverage against China. One must not forget here that the USA has followed this type of strategy with Taiwan over the years, but not been quite successful in its China policy.