Source: Lopatin
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India’s Indo-Pacific Strategy And Taiwan’s ‘New Southbound Policy’

Abstract: Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (NSP) to foster deep ties with Southeast and South Asia seems to synergise with India’s Indo-Pacific strategy. The coming together of Taipei and New Delhi has been necessitated not only because of an assertive People’s Republic of China (PRC) but also by the strategic opportunities offered because of close collaboration. A rising Indian market and manufacturing incentives offered by the Modi government would benefit Taiwanese companies’ goal of supply chain diversification away from the PRC. On the other hand, closer ties with Taipei would allow India to gain a foothold in the semiconductor industry and an indirect presence in the South China Sea (SCS). Besides, there are many similarities between the goals and objectives of NSP and New Delhi’s Indo-Pacific strategy. In addition, Taiwan has strategic value in helping boost India’s Far Sea Doctrine and Necklace of Diamond Strategy.

Problem statement: How could India and Taiwan utilise the strategic synergy of New Delhi’s Indo-Pacific strategy and Taipei’s New Southbound Policy (NSP)?

So what?: The synergy could be utilised in areas of strategic concern such as semiconductor supply chain diversification, joint development of technologies and exchange of ideas and talent. In the military realm, the cooperation between New Delhi and Taipei could be indirect in terms of the participation of military officials in security conferences organised by both sides, an invitation to armed personnel to observe naval exercises and the synchronisation of annual exercises aimed at common adversaries. In this way, from India’s perspective, Taiwan can emerge as an unofficial ‘Diamond’ of its necklace strategy. At the same time, Taipei benefits from the opportunities and advantages offered by a rising India to boost its own resilience against the PRC.

Source: Lopatin

Source: Lopatin

Overlapping Interests

In 2016, the Tsai-Ing Wen government of Taiwan launched the ‘New Southbound Policy’ (NSP) to strengthen and deepen Taipei’s links with the countries of Southeast Asia and South Asia along with Australia and New Zealand.[1] This has been done with the aim of diversifying Taiwan’s relations, mostly economic as well as political, and reducing its dependence on the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Such actions have been further bolstered by China’s economic coercion or ‘weaponisation of (economic) interdependence’[2]− the usage by Beijing of its position in the networks of trade and global supply chains to impose costs on countries dependent on it for imports when the latter take positions inimical to Chinese interests. Recent examples include Chinese restriction on the import of Australian coal from 2020 to 2023 and, considering the current paper’s focus, the suspension of the import of fish and other items and the export of natural sand (essential for construction activities) to Taiwan in 2022 on the eve of a visit by then U.S. Speaker Nancy Pelosi to Taipei. In light of the above situation, the objective of reducing Taipei’s dependence on and diversifying its economic entanglement with Beijing has gained utmost urgency in the light of the recent amplification of tensions and conflict over the Taiwan Strait as well as the current Xi Jinping regime’s policy of using economic as well as, if required, military coercion to bring about ‘reunification’ between the PRC and the ‘renegade province’, of the Republic of China (ROC) or Taiwan.[3] Among the countries included within the outline of NSP, India, in the South Asian or Indo-Pacific space, occupies a special place in Taipei’s outreach. This was illustrated by the comment in 2018 by James C.F. Huang, former head of the NSP Office, stating that ‘India is important to us in terms of trade and investment. We didn’t pay enough attention to India in the past’[4]−an apparent reference to the legacy of Cold War complications, which hindered cooperation ties between New Delhi and Taipei till 1992.[5]  This sentiment was again reiterated by Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu, who claimed in June 2023 that Taipei had an ‘enormous’ appetite to expand ties with India, especially in the area of trade, investment, and diversification of manufacturing away from China to India.[6]

India is important to us in terms of trade and investment. We didn’t pay enough attention to India in the past.

On the Indian side, after years of lull in India-Taiwan relations since the Cold War era and the low-level engagement through the establishment of representative offices in 1995, New Delhi has increasingly come to view the strategic value of Taiwan in the backdrop of the recent deterioration of Sino-Indian ties. There have emerged voices within the bureaucratic circles about the need to engage with Taiwan and shed New Delhi’s hesitance to engage with Taipei in accordance with the strict adherence to the One-China principle.

Such sentiments have become stronger in response to the PRC’s continued disavowal of Indian concerns over Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh, as well as Beijing’s increasing interference in New Delhi’s strategic space in South Asia. For instance, in the aftermath of the 2017 Doklam standoff, the Indian Parliamentary Committee on External Affairs recommended that− “It comes as a matter of concern to the Committee that even when India is overly cautious with China about China’s sensitivities while dealing with Taiwan and Tibet, China does not exhibit the same deference while dealing with India’s sovereignty concerns, be it Arunachal Pradesh or that of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir… it is difficult for the Committee to be content with India’s continuing with its conventionally deferential foreign policy towards China. Dealing with a country like China essentially requires a flexible approach. The Committee strongly feels that the Government should contemplate using all options including its relations with Taiwan, as part of such an approach”.[7]  Yet despite the Ministry of External Affairs’ (MEA) response that the ‘Government pursues engagement with Taiwan in matters such as trade, investment, scientific, culture, people to people and other functional areas’,[8] yet the current state of relations has not been adequately followed up to their potential for the strategic benefit of both New Delhi and Taipei.

The maritime realm of the Indo-Pacific has emerged as an important theatre from the Indian strategic point of view, given its increasing importance for India’s economic and security interests as well as its rising power ambitions as well as being a ‘net peace/ security provider’.[9] To this end, India has launched and been a part of a number of initiatives, such as the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) grouping of the U.S., India, Japan and Australia, focused on economic and other forms of non-military cooperation in the Indo- Pacific, India-Japan-Australia Trilateral, as well as the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).[10]

In its initial stages, the Indo-Pacific strategies of New Delhi do not put adequate focus on Taiwan despite the latter’s apparent strategic value and utility in the region. This is even though many of the goals and objectives of India’s Indo-Pacific strategy, such as enhancing trade and connectivity, capacity building and resource sharing and development of resilient supply chains,[11] are similar to the ones of NSP − economic collaboration, people-to-people exchanges, resource sharing and forging strategic and regional partnerships. However, the scenario has begun to change in the face of increasing Sino- Indian tensions on multiple fronts, which has given rise to voices in the Indian strategic community advocating for robust engagement with Taiwan through minilaterals[12] such as QUAD and areas where Taipei enjoys a lead in expertise, such as semiconductors and public health.[13]

A Resilient Supply Chain in the Semiconductor Industry

An important lesson India and the world learnt during the COVID-19 pandemic was the danger posed by over-reliance on PRC-centred supply chains for critical technologies such as semiconductors and the pressing need to diversify the same. Such concerns have led to the creation of initiatives such as the China-plus-one,[14] whereby companies seek alternative destinations to diversify their production and investment in addition to the PRC. Another similar initiative is the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI)[15] by India, Australia, and Japan in 2021, aimed at creating alternative resilient supply chains through the sharing of practices and investment promotion amongst themselves. In this quest for supply chain diversification, Taiwan can play an important role with regard to the semiconductor industry.

Taiwan occupies a crucial position in the global semiconductor supply chain, given that the island nation produces around 60 per cent of the world’s semiconductors and 90 per cent of the advanced chips, which provides the basis for the entire global technology and electronics industry.[16] It is this fact which has led Tsai Ing-Wen to coin the phrase ‘Silicon Shield’ over Taiwan, implying that Taipei’s vital position in the global semiconductor supply chain would prevent an invasion by the PRC or in the case of one would lead to the U.S. and other countries rushing to its aid.[17] However, there has been scepticism regarding the effectiveness of the ‘Silicon Shield’ against the PRC. Beijing’s and the Xi administration’s emphasis on self-sufficiency in the semiconductor industry through the Made in China 2025 programme and other similar actions aimed at re-shoring the entire supply chain processes from chip design, fabrication, and packaging within its territory.[18] Such a scenario has been made more likely by the U.S. decision, along with its allies like Japan and the Netherlands, to restrict the sale of advanced chip manufacturing equipment to Chinese semiconductor companies since 2021.[19] Moreover, actions by the U.S., such as the revision and tightening of the Biden administration’s rules and restrictions on the export of American Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chip-making tools to the PRC in March 2024have the potential to stymie Chinese military developments in the field of AI warfare and supercomputers.[20]  This situation might lead Beijing to hasten its process of reducing its dependence on Taiwan, thereby leaving the latter vulnerable to possible People’s Liberation Army (PLA) military action. Over the years, the PRC has emerged as Taiwan’s largest trading partner, accounting for around 25.2 per cent of the total and the destination for 21.6 per cent of Taiwanese imports.[21] This heavy dependence has been weaponised by Beijing at times to punish Taipei, as during the 2022 Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis, where the PRC suspended its export of natural sand and quartz – crucial ingredients for making semiconductors.[22]

Taiwan occupies a crucial position in the global semiconductor supply chain, given that the island nation produces around 60 per cent of the world’s semiconductors and 90 per cent of the advanced chips.

Considering this background, both India and Taiwan have the opportunity to cultivate a mutually beneficial relationship. Given the urgency of the need to diversify and reduce its over-reliance on the PRC, Taiwan’s semiconductor industry can find willing partners and the required conditions for setting up an alternative supply chain in India. Such a move would also coincide with a time when India has launched the India Semiconductor Mission (ISM) with a 10 billion USD production-linked incentive (PLI) to boost the country’s semiconductor, display, and design manufacturing ecosystem.[23] As part of its efforts under the ISM, India has been eyeing big players like Foxconn and Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) to open fabrication and manufacturing units in India. The Taiwanese government and the Chairman of Foxconn have reciprocated this feeling, seeing India as a ‘trusted and reliable partner’ despite the latter’s backing out of a joint venture with Vedanta to set up a semiconductor plant.[24] Yet there remain challenges to developing the above relationship between New Delhi and Taipei. These include internal factors in India, such as its cumbersome administrative laws and regulations, high tariffs on electronic component imports, and, most importantly, the lack of engineers experienced in chip factory work and fabrication.[25] Another major challenge is the competition offered by other countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Mexico[26] as possible destinations for diversification under China Plus One, given their advantages vis-a-vis India, such as lower tariffs on electronic components and streamlined regulations and laws.

The Taiwanese government and the Chairman of Foxconn have reciprocated this feeling, seeing India as a ‘trusted and reliable partner’ despite the latter’s backing out of a joint venture with Vedanta to set up a semiconductor plant.

Despite these challenges, a situation of ‘win-win cooperation’ for both Taipei and New Delhi could materialise through a joint synergy between the NSP and the Indo-Pacific strategy. India, with its huge market size, growing demography, and the availability of both high-end and low-end labour, provides ample opportunity and advantages for TSMC and Foxconn to set up foundries and fabrication units. For Taiwan, such collaboration would deepen economic ties with India and create conditions to move forward on the issue of a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between both sides. Foreign Minister Wu highlighted that an FTA lifting barriers on electronic components would provide a much-needed incentive for investment and the establishment of foundries on Indian soil.[27] In addition, Taiwan could also take advantage of India’s youthful population to attract skilled immigrants to bolster its declining workforce, which would lead to bolstering the exchange of industry talent as well as people-to-people exchange. India, on its part, would benefit from the sharing of technological experience of semiconductor fabrication as well as the industrial and office practices to be brought by these companies, which would aid in the skill and expertise development of the Indian workforce. The steps for the realisation of the same have been done through the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Taiwan in February 2024, whereby Indian labour would be allowed to seek employment in areas such as manufacturing, agriculture and construction given the issue of the ageing population faced by Taipei.[28] The employment of Indian labour in sectors such as chip manufacturing or fabrication would allow the latter to gain the necessary skills and experience for the niche task. Such Indian labourers could bring their skills back home by inviting them to work in the Taiwanese companies’ outlets in India for a period. However, there have emerged reports of protests against Indian immigration in Taiwan sparked by fears of job loss and racism,[29] which might prove to be a roadblock. Hence, both governments should take measures to allay such fears and promote mutual understanding of the cultures of both countries while dispelling racist stereotypes of Indians through awareness campaigns.

The groundwork for more robust engagement could be laid by increased communication and exchange between Taiwan’s National Science and Technology Council (NSTC) and the New and Emerging Strategic Technologies (NEST)[30] division of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India – a division set up in 2020 focused on emerging critical technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), biotechnology, quantum computing, and nanotechnology in which semiconductors play a vital role. However, the other major concern flagged by Taiwanese companies− the lack of adequate infrastructure in terms of electricity and water supply and recreational facilities- has to be addressed quickly and proactively by the Indian government. With regard to the aforementioned hindrances to Taiwanese investment in and engagement with India, some experts have advised New Delhi to look at and compare its policies regarding tariffs and industrial infrastructure to those of its competitors like Vietnam.[31] Such a comparison would compel New Delhi to re-think its policies and shape them in such a manner as to create an inviting and attractive business and investment environment which provides more incentives than others. Besides, the size of India’s domestic market and fast-growing economy[32] and weight in the international order as compared to its peers is something which Taipei cannot ignore.

Through its presence in India, Taiwanese companies can also indirectly become part of the SCRI and other related initiatives of the Indo-Pacific, thereby helping it diversify its supply chains away from the PRC. Under the rubric of SCRI, Taiwan can also build cooperative, collaborative networks with Japan and Australia to develop alternate supply chains. Together with India, all four nations can form a ‘supply chain quadrilateral of sorts’ in the semiconductor industry by leveraging each other’s unique strengths− Taiwanese and Japanese experience in design and fabrication, Australia’s natural stock of critical minerals,[33] and India’s labour and other advantages. Similarly, through an Indian partnership, Taipei could also be roped in to be an ‘unofficial member’ of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), whose focus also includes the formation of resilient supply chains in critical sectors and key goods which could not be easily disrupted.[34]

Through its presence in India, Taiwanese companies can also indirectly become part of the SCRI and other related initiatives of the Indo-Pacific, thereby helping it diversify its supply chains away from the PRC.

Taiwan as Part of India’s Indo-Pacific Strategy

Taiwan is an integral part of the Indo-Pacific, given its location in the Western Pacific Ocean, whereby it straddles atop vital Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOCs) in the South China Sea (SCS) linking the Indian and Pacific Oceans.[35] From India’s point of view, Taiwan’s strategic location and its existence across the Straits continue to prevent the PRC from completely dominating the South China Sea and the Western Pacific in general, thereby putting a brake on its quest to extend into the Indian Ocean. From this perspective, a strong and stable Taiwan is essential to Indian security in the Indo-Pacific.

In the scenario of the PRC’s military takeover of Taiwan, not only will it generate severe repercussions in the realms of global trade, supply chain disruptions, and India’s maritime connectivity with the SCS, but it will also leave the PRC open to pursuing a ‘strategic squeeze’ against India both in the land and maritime boundaries.[36] In addition, the Taiwanese Government itself has expressed deep interest in becoming an active ‘Indo- Pacific player’ by aligning the NSP with policy frameworks such as the U.S.’ Free and Open Indo-Pacific and India’s Act East Policy,[37] realising the value of deepening cooperation with other Indo-Pacific players, which might serve Taipei’s strategic interests of building informal alliances and cutting its dependence on the PRC. Hence, in such a scenario, India should not shy away from building a strategic partnership of sorts with Taiwan that can be short of overt formalisation.

In response to the Chinese strategy of ‘String of Pearls’ involving the acquisition of dual-use naval bases in the Indian Ocean, such as Djibouti, Gwadar, and Hambantota, to encircle India, New Delhi has formulated its own ‘Necklace of Diamonds Strategy’ to counter the same. Coined first by the then Indian Foreign Secretary Lalit Mansingh back in 2011, the strategy focuses on securing Indian access and presence in key locations such as the Changi Naval base in Singapore, Chabahar port in Iran, Assumption Islands in Seychelles, Sabang Port in Indonesia and Duqm port in Oman. It also involves bolstering the Indian naval presence in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands adjoining the Straits of Malacca, through which 90 per cent of oil and energy shipments for East Asia passes through. The access to these naval bases was to be sought through building strategic partnerships and agreements with the above countries as well as with other major Indo-Pacific partners such as Vietnam, Japan, and Australia.[38] Following this, India has various agreements and forged partnerships on logistics exchange, maritime knowledge sharing and naval access for berthing and refuelling with countries such as Singapore, Oman, and Japan while aiding in the development of strategic ports such as Sabang in Indonesia (near the Straits of Malacca) with whom New Delhi has upgraded its ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2018. At the same time, agreements have also been signed with Australia, Seychelles, and Reunion Islands (France) to establish joint monitoring and naval access points at territories such as Coco Islands, Assumption Islands and Reunion Territories, respectively.[39]

Taiwan, too, could form an important but unofficial part of the ‘Necklace.’ Given the inherent difficulties of geographical distance as well as the presence of an assertive and aggressive ‘China factor’ in the relations between India and Taiwan, New Delhi could not forge the same kind of agreements and partnerships as with the other countries included within the necklace. However, it can utilise indirect contacts and pathways to forge a strategic partnership with Taipei. An example is the recent attendance of the Ketagalan Forum’s 2023 Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue on August 08, 2023, by the retired chiefs of Indian armed forces, which drew a sharp reprise from Beijing.[40]

Given the inherent difficulties of geographical distance as well as the presence of an assertive and aggressive ‘China factor’ in the relations between India and Taiwan, New Delhi could not forge the same kind of agreements.

Although critics have warned not to read much into the above incident,[41] yet such informal contacts can be utilised under the aegis of both the NSP and Indo-Pacific frameworks. For instance, under the pillar of people-to-people exchange of the NSP focusing on both academia and industry, Taipei could invite retired Indian defence personnel as well as individuals from India’s strategic community as guest speakers and lecturers in Taiwan’s ROC Military Academy. In contrast, Taiwanese defence experts and personnel could be extended the same invitation to lecture at the Indian Military Academy and other similar defence-related platforms. The recent military simulation or tabletop exercises conducted by the think tanks United Service Institution of India (USI) and the Taiwanese Institute of for National Defence and Security Research (INDSR) involving the Indo-Pacific security landscape of 2035 with special emphasis on hotspots of the Taiwan Straits and the Sino- Indian border[42] held during May 2024 is a case in point of the above.

Cooperation could also be fostered between Indian defence manufacturers and Taiwanese counterparts with the objective of exchange of industry talent and sharing technology. Such contacts and partnerships could also be fostered between the IITs[43] and Taiwanese research institutes, such as the National Chung Shan Institute of Technology, where the Indian institutes could contribute their expertise and research to enhancing Taiwanese capabilities in programs such as Taipei’s ‘Drone National Team’.[44] The aforementioned program was implemented during the earlier presidency of Tsai-ing Wen, which aimed at bolstering the island nation’s defence capabilities by focusing on building military drones, including mini drones and surveillance craft. Towards this end, the strategy entailed the Taiwanese military joining with commercial drone makers and aviation and aerospace firms. Along with domestic players, the program could also be extended to include allies such as the U.S. and potential partners like India.

Given the vital role of semiconductors in today’s defence technology and military strategy, Taiwanese semiconductor expertise could be complemented by Indian defence manufacturing expertise, thereby laying the ground for future joint endeavours. Such joint partnerships between New Delhi and Taipei could also be expanded to include other powers in the Necklace, such as Japan and Australia under the aegis of SCRI as well as the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) launched by India to foster cooperation on seven pillars or issues including maritime security, science, technology and academic cooperation and capacity building and resource sharing.[45] Under the aforementioned pillars, the synergy between India, Taiwan, and other countries could be explored. This can also include ASEAN members such as Vietnam, given the linkage and existing cooperation between IPOI and the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific.[46]

It has also been suggested that given India’s membership in minilaterals such as QUAD, India-Japan-Australia and India-France-Australia, New Delhi could use its position to convince the other members to include Taiwan and utilise its capacities in humanitarian and other similar missions in the Indo-Pacific.[47] Along similar lines, India can utilise its participation in multilateral and bilateral exercises such as JIMBEX, Maitree, SIMBEX and the MALABAR to include Taiwan in these exercises as an observer or as a participant in non-combat operations.[48] Moreover, there should be attempts to forge synchronisation between these exercises and Taiwan’s annual Han Kuang exercise to counter Chinese offensive designs.[49] At the same time, the Han Kuang exercise could coincide with and even include India’s naval operations in the Strait of Malacca and South China Sea (SCS), similar to the one in 2021, as a signal to Beijing to restrain its behaviour.[50]  While there remain significant challenges to more robust and direct military ties between Taipei and New Delhi, the above-mentioned measures could be the stepping zone to much more proactive ‘grey zone’ military coordination, which should make the PRC exercise caution before indulging in any military adventurism or coercion tactics either in the Himalayas or across the Taiwan Straits.

India can utilise its participation in multilateral and bilateral exercises such as JIMBEX, Maitree, SIMBEX and the MALABAR to include Taiwan in these exercises as an observer or as a participant in non-combat operations.

For India to fully utilise the strategic value of such a combined exercise and signalling, New Delhi should focus and devote adequate resources to utilise the strategic location and advantages offered by the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Straddling across the Six Degree and Ten Degree Channels leading to the Straits of Malacca, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands lying at the intersection of both Indian and Pacific Oceans can be used by the Indian Navy as a launchpad for its operations into the SCS as well as the Malacca Straits.[51] Realising this, India established its first Tri-Service Command or the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) in the islands in 2001. However, the ANC was plagued by issues such as intra-service conflict over command structure as well as hesitance by New Delhi to invest resources so as not to alarm its maritime neighbours.

In recent years, voices have emerged in the Indian naval command to give more emphasis to and use the ANC to bolster India’s capabilities in the Indo-Pacific.[52] Based on a strong naval presence in the Islands, India could easily conduct its operations towards the Straits of Malacca in case of any sign of Chinese misbehaviour in the Himalayas or the Taiwan Straits and SCS. There have also been calls to allow major navies such as the U.S., Japanese, Australian, and French to have access to the ANC for logistical support.[53] Such an arrangement would also include a joint patrol and conduction of navigation exercises in the Malacca Straits with the above navies in support of Taiwan, and at the same time, such joint patrol could also be synchronised with the Han Kuang.

Recognition due to Interests

Despite the establishment of ties in 1995, the Indo-Taiwan ties have not been explored to their full potential. This was largely because of the overwhelming presence of the PRC in both New Delhi and Taipei’s strategic calculus. However, given the PRC’s current military and aggressive posturing in the land and maritime domains, both India and Taiwan have been forced to explore new ways to realise the strategic potential of their ties. It also helps that within India, there have been calls to increase engagement with Taiwan and reduce its strict adherence to the One-China Policy, given Beijing’s repeated disavowal of Indian sovereignty concerns.

While constraints such as geographical distance, capability differential with the PRC and the need to adhere to the One-China Policy place significant hurdles in exploring the strategic aspects of Indo-Taiwanese cooperation, Taiwan is no longer an issue India can afford to ignore. India’s security, both in the Himalayas and the Indo-Pacific, hinges on a strong and stable Taiwan. The PRC’s engagement in the maritime crisis in the Taiwan Straits not only keeps Beijing distracted from India but also renders New Delhi a valuable partner to the QUAD and other Indo-Pacific powers. In addition, the status quo in the Taiwan Straits is also vital for India’s economic and other interests in the Indo-Pacific.[54]

While constraints place significant hurdles in exploring the strategic aspects of Indo-Taiwanese cooperation, Taiwan is no longer an issue India can afford to ignore.

Back in 1949, when India switched its recognition from the ROC (Taiwan) to the PRC, the justification was that ‘as for recognition, there is no doubt that recognition had to be given to a fact’. This implied that given the fact of the Communists’ control over most of the territory of China, which would not disappear away any time soon and was bound to stay as India’s neighbour, it made sense for New Delhi to give recognition to the PRC for its own interests.[55] Going by the same logic, today’s fact remains that an assertive PRC is bound to harm India’s strategic interests both in the land and the sea, and the only factor keeping it from doing so is Taiwan. Hence, in recognition of this fact, it is time for New Delhi to shed its earlier hesitance and include Taiwan among its strategic partners.

Anuraag Khaund is pursuing a PhD in International Politics(IP) from the School of International Studies (SIS), Central University of Gujarat (CUG). He has published opinion pieces in The Diplomat, Deccan Herald, Kashmir Observer and Eleventh Column. His interests include History, International Relations, East Asia and the Middle East. The views contained in this article are the author’s alone and do not represent the views of CUG.

[1] CSIS, The New Southbound Policy, July 2019,

[2] Victor D Cha, “Collective resilience: Deterring China’s Weaponization of Economic Interdependence,” International Security, 2023, vol. 48, no.1, 91-124, 95-96.

[3] Stanly Johny, “The geopolitics of the Fourth Taiwan Strait Crisis,” The Hindu, August 18, 2022,

[4] Sana Hashmi, “Situating India in Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy,” Asian Affairs, 54:2,  305-326, 306.

[5] Prashant Kumar Singh, “Tawan: A Forgotten Frontier of India’s Act East?,” in Jagannath P. Panda (.eds) India- Taiwan Relations in Asia and Beyond- The Future, New Delhi: Institute for Defence Studies & Analysis (IDSA), 2016, 19-36, 22-25.

[6] “Taiwan has ‘enormous appetite’ to expand ties with India: Taiwanese Foreign Minister Wu,” The Hindu, June 28, 2023,

[7] Sana Hashmi, “Situating India in Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy,” Asian Affairs, 54:2,  305-326, 312.

[8] Ibid., 313.

[9] Ram Madhav, Ram, “With Mauritius joining project, India’s rising power in the Indian Ocean,” The Indian Express, March 02, 2024,

[10] Sujan Chinoy, World Upside Down- India Recalibrates Its Geopolitics, Gurugram: Harper Collins, 2023, 98.

[11] “Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)- Towards a Sustainable and Prosperous Indo-Pacific Region,” Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA), 2022, 12.

[12] Jagannath Panda, “Can India leverage Taiwan’s Lai Moment?,” The Diplomat, February 02, 2024,

[13] Sunil Chacko, “Taiwan and Minilateralism,” The Sunday Guardian, January 21, 2024,

[14] “What is the China-plus-one strategy?,” Business Standard, July 26, 2022,

[15] “Australia-India-Japan Trade Ministers’ Joint Statement on Launch of Supply Chain Resilience initiative,” Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Press Information Bureau, Govt of India,

[16] Alexander Neill, “Doubts grow over Taiwan’s Silicon Shield,” GIS, March 28, 2023,

[17] Tsai-Ing Wen, “Taiwan and the Fight for Democracy,” Foreign Affairs, November/ December 2021,

[18] Chris Miller, Chip War- The Fight for the World’s Most Critical Technology, London: Simon & Schuster, 2022, 250.

[19] “Japan’s alignment with U.S. on chip curbs in China makes some uneasy,” The Hindu, July 24, 2023,

[20] “AI Chips for China face additional US restrictions,” The Diplomat, April 05, 2024,

[21] “Taiwan- Country Commerce Guide,” International Trade Administration,’s%20largest%20trading,of%20Korea%20(6.1%20percent.

[22] “Mainland suspends export of natural sand to Taiwan,” China Daily, March 08, 2022, (

[23] “India Semiconductor Mission,” Ministry of Electronics & IT, Press Information Bureau, Govt of India,   

[24] “Foxconn backs India’s bid to be chip manufacturing base,” The Times of India, July 29, 2023,

[25] “Amid India’s chip push, Taiwan flags talent gaps, high import tariff,” The Indian Express, April 23, 2024,

[26] “India is not attracting enough manufacturing through China Plus One strategy, says Raghuram Rajan,” The Hindu, January 07, 2024,

[27] “Skill shortage, tariffs, red tape deter chip makers’ entry in India: Taiwan,” Business Standard, April 23, 2024,

[28] “India, Taiwan sign MoU to bring Indian workers tide over labour shortage,” Hindustan Times, February 17, 2024,

[29] “Taiwan’s plan to hire Indian workers sees racist backlash on social media: Why Taipei has blamed China for this,” The Indian Express, November 27, 2023,

[30] Aashi Tirkey, “The NEST: A pragmatic addition to India’s external affairs ministry,” Observer Research Foundation (ORF), March 30, 2020,

[31] “India’s true manufacturing rival is Vietnam, not China,” Communications Today, February 09, 2024,,China%2C%20is%20its%20biggest%20rival.

[32] “India remains world’s fastest growing major economy globally: World Bank,” Business Standard, June 12, 2024,

[33] “Critical Minerals,” Department of Industry, Science and Resources, Australian Government,earth%20elements%2C%20tungsten%20and%20vanadium.

[34] VS Sheshadri, “IPEF’s supply chain initiative holds promise,” The Hindu business line, September 21, 2023,

[35] Jagannath P Panda, “India and Taiwan: Potential Regional Partners?,” in Jagannath P. Panda (.Eds) India- Taiwan Relations in Asia and Beyond: The Future, New Delhi: PENTAGON PRESS & Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses (IDSA), 2016, 56-68, 58.

[36] Vijay Gokhale, “What Should India do Before the Next Taiwan Strait Crisis?,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, April 2023, 1-43, 8-10.

[37] Sana (2023), “Situating India in Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy,” 319-320.

[38] Sumanta Bhattacharya, Jayanta Kumar Ray, Shakti Sinha and Bhavneet Kaur Sachdev, “Can India’s Necklace of Diamonds Strategy Defeat the China’s String of Pearls,” International Journal of Recent Advances in Multidisciplinary Topics, vol.2, issue 11, November 2021, ISSN (Online): 2582-7839,, 105-107, 106.

[39] Allah Nawaz, “India’s Evolving Maritime Strategy,” South Asian Voices, May 31, 2023,’s%20new%20doctrine%20was,than%20simply%20%E2%80%9Cusing%E2%80%9D%20them.

[40] “China warns India on security ties with Taiwan after ex-chiefs visit island,” Hindustan Times, September 01, 2023,

[41] Arun Prakash, “Delhi and Taipei, just friends,” The Indian Express, August 14, 2023,

[42] “India, Taiwan hold Military Simulations focusing on Indo- China border, Taiwan Strait amid Beijing’s Muscle Flexing,” EurAsian Times, June 08, 2024,,India%2C%20Taiwan%20Hold%20Military%20Simulations%20Focusing%20On%20Indo%2DChina%20Border,Strait%20Amid%20Beijing’s%20Muscle%20Flexing&text=Think%20tanks%20from%20Taiwan%20and,Sino%2DIndian%20border%20in%202035.

[43] “IIT-Madras, DRDO tie up for advanced defence tech R&D,” The Hindu business line,  January 02, 2023.

[44] “Inspired by Ukraine war, Taiwan launches drone blitz to counter China,” The Indian Express, July 22, 2023.

[45] “Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)- Towards a Sustainable and Prosperous Indo-Pacific Region,” 7.

[46] Premesha Saha and Abhishek Mishra, “The Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative: Towards a Coherent Indo-Pacific Policy for India,” ORF Occasional Paper, December 23, 2020, 1-46, 6,

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[48] Tan Neel, “India, Taiwan and the Indo-Pacific: Economic–Security Strategic Partnership and Expected Utility Theory,” 113-114.

[49] “Taiwan drills to focus on piercing blockade, get ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence link,” Reuters, April 26, 2023,

[50] Harsh V Pant, “The strategic signal of an Indian presence in the South China Sea,” Observer Research Foundation, September 01, 2023,

[51] Sujan Chinoy, World Upside Down- India Recalibrates Its Geopolitics, 76.

[52] Arun Prakash, “The maritime ‘Great Game’: Why Delhi needs to bolster the Andaman and Nicobar Command,” The Indian Express, May 26, 2023,

[53] Sujan Chinoy, World Upside Down- India Recalibrates Its Geopolitics, 78.

[54] Harsh V Pant, Yogesh M Joshi, “India must prepare for a conflict over Taiwan,” Hindustan Times, 3 August, 2023,

[55] Jagannath P Panda, “India and Taiwan: Potential Regional Partners?,” 22.

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