Taiwan holds the key to checkmating China, India should utilize this opportunity to bring Beijing to its knees
The decision of Taiwan to open its second Taipei Cultural and Economic Centre (TECC) in Mumbai is a revolutionary step in the right direction.
Taiwan as a nation-state possesses the ability to punch above its own weight. Despite its puny size, Taiwan is a technology superpower. Over 85% of the world’s semiconductors which are used in manufacturing of electronic gadgets of multifarious type is made there.
Taiwan is also an emerging economic power with Taiwanese businesses from IT to oil exploration making a mark for themselves in the global geo-economic landscape.
But the million dollar question is this-exactly how can use the Taiwan card to checkmate the belligerent and bellicose China?
The current foreign policy establishment in New Delhi are shrewd; they are guided by a judicious mixture of realism-pragmatism.
In that context, South Block knows exactly the nature of the threat that China poses to India’s sovereignty and integrity.
Deepening cooperation with ASEAN, USA, France etc to secure the Indo-Pacific is a good strategy, but that is not enough.
Taiwan is the country that China cannot bear to see, that is the reason it routinely excoriates the former and claims to be its own.
Intensifying engagement with Taiwan be it economically, politically, institutionally is one of th sure shot ways to get back at Beijing.
Promoting cooperation in the field of IT i.e., the newly emerging field of AI or Artificial Intelligence is the future.
This can be done in the field of defence; manufacturing killer robots and even a possible supersoldier programme is worth giving a shot.
The gamechanging decision to tackle China vis-a-vis Taiwan is to give formal diplomatic recognition to the small island country.
Taiwan is not like China, it doesn’t intimidate neighbours, doesn’t engage in debt-trap diplomacy and doesn’t interfere in the internal affairs of sovereign countries.
It, however, needs to be outlined that checkmating China will be anything but easy.
India’s foreign policy stand vis-a-vis China has historically been a One-China principle, so this step will upend the status-quo.
Then, China is the second largest bilateral trade partner of India with whom we have a huge trade deficit. China may try and weaponise that.
On top of that, economic decoupling will be a hard option.
Militarily, despite the Indian armed forces possessing the lethal capabilities will find it hard to keep sustaining the momentum for long as far as China is concerned. Further, the intense endogenous tension in the North-east is China’s doing.
It has been sponsoring militancy and separatist movement there.
In the event of Bharat giving formal diplomatic recognition to Taiwan, it may happen that Beijing activates its shenanigans.
By using money and weapons it may try and destabilize India and even try and invade Taiwan.
Gains to be Reaped
Amidst all the risks, there are several gains too.
Firs of all, according diplomatic recognition to Taipei is sure to rattle China. The enemy makes a blunder only when ambushed.
Next, India will have a strong democratic ally that can take up an authoritarian China where human rights hold no value.
Further, it will allow India to have a firm footing in East Asia and ensure that she can deal with the dragon in the strategic South China Sea region with a strong ally.
Foreign policy is all about taking risks. In order for India to be a superpower, a risk averse appetite won’t work. Checkmating China will be a hard task.
New Delhi will need to take some hard yet critical decisions to checkmate China.