Research Report on Taiwan-India Relations

July 6th, 2020

Since the implementation of the New Southbound Policy in 2016, Taiwan and India have gradually deepened cooperative relations. How governments, entrepreneurs, and civil societies of the two countries could take advantage of the improved relations to make these ties even more dynamic has drawn the public attention. Moreover, when India decided to opt out the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), in what ways should Taiwan re-organize our relations with India? In order to address these issues, the Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF) outlined in this year’s Yushan Forum the very first Research Report on Taiwan-India Relations, and discussed major policy recommendations and future development strategies.

This report comprehensively analyzes the past, present, and future between Taiwan and India through seven topics, including histories of Taiwan-India relations, national security, political interactions, technological cooperation, talent cultivation, think tank collaboration, and economics and trade. Talents technology, and localization are three major development strategy highlighted in this report.

The editor of this report, Professor Mu-min Chen of the Graduate Institute of International Politics, National Chung Hsing University, points out that India is the 6th largest economy in the world while Taiwan is one of the most energetic economic powers in the Asia-Pacific region. Bilateral relationship between the two countries has grown significantly in the past two decades despite not having diplomatic relations. Professor Chen suggests that Taiwan and India could stimulate publicity in various forms to promote cooperation in education, culture, tourism, and business and investment, and further explore new areas for cooperation. Professor Ming-Shih Shen of the Institute for Strategic Studies, National Defense University, also agrees that Taiwan-India security cooperation has been difficult due to past diplomatic conditions. However, with the new Indo-Pacific strategy framework, opportunities for military exchanges has increased, making it the most opportune time to find common ground in expanding security collaborations between the two countries.

In addition to cooperative opportunities made by both governments, Dr. I-Chung Lai, President of The Prospect Foundation, believes that think tanks have to establish more localized relations with India in order to have a more in-depth knowledge of the country. At the same time, Taiwan needs to tap into all talents that are familiar with India in order to construct a more dynamic ecosystem of think tanks.

Professor Chue Ming of the Graduate Institute of Religious Studies, Nanhua University, whose contribution in this report focuses on talent cultivation, suggests that investing more resources in the training of Chinese language teachers and cooperation in academic education on a regular basis would be a mutually beneficial development strategy for
Taiwan and India.

Tsun Tzu Hsu, Director of the Taiwan ASEAN Studies Center, emphasizes that Taiwanese entrepreneurs play a vital role in the global value chain, and help in deepening Taiwan’s economic and trade relations with India through electronic, and information and communication technologies industries. Aside from technological aspects, Professor Tien-Sze Fang of the Center for General Education, National Tsing Hua University, points out that there is plenty of room for further development in the humanities and social sciences. In addition to industrial connections, Taiwan and India could also strengthen the cooperative mechanisms in the humanities and social sciences to further make technological cooperation more comprehensive.

In an era when diplomatic relations are rapidly changing, this report overall believes that taking the initiative is the best development strategy. Namrata Hasija, Research Fellow at the Centre for China Analysis and Strategy in India, also echoes this by emphasizing that, instead of passively waiting for India to approach Taiwan, the latter should actively explore and expand all avenues of official and non-official cooperation.

Dr. Hsin-Huang Michael Hsiao
Chairman of Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation

Full report: