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India, Taiwan enhance economic ties

Voice of America

Taiwan will expand its presence in India by opening a representative office in Mumbai, a sign that the countries are increasing economic ties.

While New Delhi has had limited political contacts with Taiwan, business ties between the nations have grown in recent years.

India’s External Affairs Ministry spokesman, Arindam Bagchi, said Taiwan’s plan to open the Mumbai center aligns with Indian policy which “facilitates, promotes interactions with Taiwan in areas of trade, tourism, culture, education and other such people-to-people contacts and exchanges.”

Taiwan’s move comes as both countries have seen a sharp deterioration in ties with the People’s Republic of China (PRC), analysts said.

The deepening tensions with Beijing have prompted Taiwanese companies to consider expanding bases outside the PRC, while New Delhi wants to woo manufacturers seeking to diversify supply chains to India.

“This expansion of the Taiwanese presence in India can be seen in the context of its estrangement with Beijing,” said Manoj Joshi, distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi.

The Mumbai Taipei Economic and Cultural Center is expected to open in 2024 and will be Taiwan’s third in India. It has one in New Delhi and another in the southern city of Chennai. Mumbai, India’s financial hub, is seen as key for businesses in India.

India does not have formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Taiwan’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said the aim of opening a center in Mumbai was to advance “substantive ties” with India and “deepen exchanges and cooperation.” It noted progress in economics, trade, science and technology, and critical supply chains.

The ministry statement said that while southern India, where Taipei has had an economic and cultural center since 2012, has attracted most of the Taiwanese investments, the center in Mumbai is expected to have a similar effect in western India.

New Delhi hopes to attract companies that dominate the semiconductor industry to fulfill its ambitions of becoming a chip-manufacturing hub in Asia.

“India has realized that Taiwan is an important country in the production of chips and who would underestimate the role of chips in modern day technological development? Friendship with Taiwan will improve India’s economic and technological capability,” said Chintamani Mahapatra, founder of the Kalinga Institute of Indo Pacific Studies in New Delhi.

Taiwan’s companies have a relatively small footprint in India compared to other Asian countries, but that could change as India emerges as a quickly growing economy.

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