Taiwan has always been a reliable ally for India. Amidst the on-going China-Taiwan conflict, India has her priorities clear.
India is forging closer economic ties with what could be China’s long term targeted country with a plan to send tens of thousands of workers to the island as early as next month, according to senior officials familiar with the matter, potentially angering neighbour China.
The island-country could hire as many as 100,000 Indians to work at factories, farms and hospitals, the officials said, asking not to be identified as the discussions are private.
The two sides are expected to sign an employment mobility agreement by as early as December, the sources have confirmed.
Taiwanese population is steadily edging towards the retirement phase. As in, the country has more aged citizens than they have youth. In such scenario, it would be a huge task to progress as there would always be insufficient man-power.
The country is projected to become a “super aged” society by 2025 with elderly people forecast to make up for more than a fifth of the population. This is the primary reason India & Taiwan are signing this employment pact. India currently has the biggest population of aged 18-23.
More about the Labour Supply Pact between both the countries
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi confirmed that the India-Taiwan jobs pact is in its final stages of negotiation, as per the Bloomberg report.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Ministry of Labor expressed its openness to cooperation with countries that can provide it with workers.
Taiwan, where the unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest since 2000, will offer pay parity with locals and insurance policies to Indian workers to keep its $790 billion economy afloat.
Similarly, an earlier report stated that Israel was eyeing to hir 100000 workers from India in a bid to replace Palestinians who were fired from jobs after the Israel-Hamas war broke out.
According to a Voice of America (VOA) News report, Israel’s construction sector confirmed it had asked its government to allow companies to hire up to one lakh workers from India to replace about 90,000 Palestinians.
In response to these reports, Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that he was not aware of any specific requests on the issue yet but the initiative, if taken up, would be a long-term plan.
Does the Labour Supply Pact between both the countries agonise China?
The employment deal is likely to ignite geopolitical tensions with China, which opposes any official exchange with Taiwan, a self-ruled island that Beijing claims as its own.
China is separated from Taiwan by a narrow body of water and shares a Himalayan border with India. It’s also been India’s top source of imports for the past two decades.
China-Taiwan relations have thinned over the years over; independence. In such conditions India sending help to Taipei will agonise Beijing. China considers Taiwan as a piece of their country whilst Taipei wishes to be independent.
If at any situation Taiwan decides to go to war for its independence and end China’s dominance; India’s labour could prove to be a major decider in such conditions.
A pact with Taiwan doesn’t suggest India is discarding the “One China Policy” — a position that recognizes the island as being a part of China. However, New Delhi hasn’t reiterated that position in public documents and has instead fostered an active unofficial relationship with Taiwan.
Taiwan & India in a nutshell
When the Indian government initiated “Look East Policy” in early 1991, Taiwan and India started to approach each other and loosen visa restrictions.
In 1995 the two countries established representative offices in each other’s capitals, namely Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India (TECC) for ROC (Taiwan) in New Delhi and India-Taipei Association (ITA) for India in Taipei.
Taiwan-India relationship has made significant progress for the past decades.
The two countries signed “Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement” and “Customs Mutual Assistance Agreement” in July 2011 which further enhanced the economic and trade relationship in particular for both sides.
TAITRA established a liaison office in New Delhi in April 2018 and held the first-ever Taiwan Expo in India in May. In 2022 bilateral Deputy Ministerial Meetings on Economic Consultation as well as Science and Technology Cooperation held with remarkable progress.
Due to shared willingness for further cooperation, the two countries have built up cordial and friendly relationship in areas such as economic cooperation, cultural and educational exchanges, as well as high-ranking official visits in recent years.
Trade, Commerce and Investment Relationships :
Economic cooperation in areas of trade, investment and industry between India and the island-country has been very close in recent years. Bilateral trade has grown nearly six-fold from $1.19 Billion in 2001 to almost $7.7 Billion in 2021.
India ranks as their 14th largest export destination and 18th largest source of imports. The bilateral trade relationship is further enhanced by frequent exchanges of visits by business delegations.
As of the end of 2021, around 106 Taiwanese companies have set up business operations in India, with the total investment amount of $1.5 Billion in the fields of information and communication technology, medical devices, automobile components, machinery, steel, electronics, construction, engineering, financial services, etc.
A Taiwanese company has selected one site in Karnataka to build an electronics manufacturing cluster with a view to deepening supply chain collaboration with Indian partners.
Collaboration of small and medium enterprises is another focal area. Both sides have strengthened cooperation in important areas of policy sharing, technological assistance, innovation, entrepreneurship and business incubation, market development, as well as capacity and capability building.
Source: India Today
Bilateral Economic Consultations Meetings between both the countries are held annually and have been proven to be a success in bringing various mutual beneficial opportunities to both sides. Governments and industries of both the countries will continue to engage closely in “Make in India, ”“Digital India,” “Skill India,” and “Startup India” initiatives for collective growth.
Science & Technology Cooperation :
The MOU on Scientific and Technological Cooperation was signed between TECC and ITA in 2007. Bilateral joint meetings and academic seminars are held annually. As of January 2023, a total of 115 projects and joint proposals have been carried out while 25 seminars have been held bilaterally.
The cooperation in science & technology contains a wide range of fields such as agricultural and food science; new material for sustainable energy and storage devices; health care including functional genomics, drug development and biomedical devices; earth, atmosphere and ocean sciences including disaster management & digital technology for societal applications and cloud computing.
Cultural Exchanges :
Cultural exchanges between both the countries have been on the increase in recent years. In addition to the Taiwan films being screened annually in major films festivals of India, performing art groups from Taiwan have also been welcomed by Indian audience.
The Ju Percussion Group visited India in 2011, Ten Drum Art Percussion Group in 2013. U Theatre in 2014, and Ming Hwa Yuan Art & Culture Group and Taiwan Bamboo Orchestra in 2015. The Youth Ambassadors delegation sponsored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs visited India to promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges in 2014, 2015 and 2017, respectively.
Da-Guan Dance Theater of the National Taiwan University of Arts, TAI Body Theatre and Little Giant Chinese Chamber Orchestra also visited India in 2017. In 2018, the Youth Ambassadors delegation visited India and a Taiwan Film Festival was held by TECC in New Delhi.
In 2022, the Dance Troupe of the College of Indigenous Studies from National Dong Hwa University was invited to attend an international folk culture event Udbhav Utsav in Madhya Pradesh.
While Taiwanese new immigrant Martin Musa Musaubach was invited to perform fusion music at IIT Mumbai, another post-pandemic Taiwan Film Festival was again successfully organized in December 2022.
Taiwan has been a strategic partner for India. Manufacturing electronic chips or using Taiwan-made products instead of Chinese ones.
China cannot dictate policies in South Asia Pacific and therefore India-Taiwan relation will be very vital for the future. Due to the cheap labour it provides New Delhi with very cheap alternative for Chinese goods.