India-Taiwan are celebrating more than 25 years of relationship this year. While they share similar set of values and have no serious disputes between the two countries yet India has been hesitant to acknowledge their relations and have usually kept a low key affair. But in the recent times the things have been changing and taking a more positive direction.
The Taiwan-India relationship has been improving gradually over the years. Between 1995 and 2014, the bilateral trade has grown from $ 934 million to $ 5.91 billion. In August 2015, the Taiwan based Foxconn, announced an investment of $ 5 billion in India. Foxconn is one of the largest hardware manufacturers in the world and hence was a huge step towards the development between the countries. In 2019, the trade volume grew up to US$ 7 billion, with the growth rate of 20% YoY.
Over the years, the people to people contact has also grown significantly with tourism playing a major role. Both countries have deepened mutual respect and held democracy and development as the key principle of collective growth.
In the year 2020, two members of the Indian Parliament virtually attended the swearing ceremony of the newly elected President Tsai. Also, in July 2020 the Indian government appointed a top career diplomat, Joint Secretary Gourangalal Das, the former head of the U.S. division in India’s Ministry of External Affairs, as its new envoy to Taiwan.
Educational diplomacy can become as a strong bases to further develop and strengthen the relationship between the two countries. Both sides have also expanded educational exchanges after a mutual degree recognition agreement in higher education was signed in 2010. Although there are student from Taiwan studying India yet the number is far too less. So it becomes important to introduce policies and scholarship to increase the above. The position of 16 Taiwanese universities in QS World University Ranking (2021) and 35 Taiwanese universities in the top 300 ranks of the QS Asia ranking could be a USP to attract Indian students as well. Taiwan has a fellowship programme awarded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (scholars mobility programme) where scholars from different states conduct research. Also, under the New South Bound Policy (NSP), Taiwan can provide better platform for the Indian students to study there. Taiwan can provide affordable living and superior lab infrastructure with job opportunities.
As part of India’s ‘Look East Policy’, has sought to strengthen ties with Taiwan in trade and investment, science and technology, environment issues as well as people to people contact. With China’s presence and aggressiveness increasing, it becomes more important for the two countries to increase their cooperation. Covid-19 has also stressed on cooperation by the two countries in the health sector. But the areas of cooperation still remain limited until and unless political relations remain insignificant. So in the case like above, Educational diplomacy can be used as a soft medium to enhance the growth and coordination between the two countries.