The standoff at the Ladakh border between the Indian Army and the PLA (People’s Liberation Army) continues amid failing talks and casus belli measures being unleashed by the Chinese regime.
The option of establishing formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan should be vigorously pursued by India. Indo-Taiwan ties date back to the early 1950s, when Chiang Kai Shek, the former Chinese president and former head of state who fled to the island of Formosa following the victory of Mao Zedong in the long-drawn Chinese civil war, called on Nehru to establish and further ties with Formosa. However, Nehru, believing that Chiang was nothing but a minor player, decided to ignore his call, choosing instead to concentrate on building ties with the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
It will enforce the idea that liberal democracy is the last word in the battle of ideologies, as Francis Fukuyama had visualised in his landmark book The End of History and the Last Man, and that there is no alternative to human rights and liberties, not even the Chinese model of “authoritarian development”. It will be the boldest step that any global leader has taken. Not even the mighty US has so far established formal diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
Recognising Taiwan will entail a lot of benefits for India’s foreign policy regime. First, Taiwan is a robust democracy with a booming economy. Second, India can bolster its legitimacy as the leader of the democratic world at a time when the democratic institutions in the US have been undermined.
As a possible retaliatory measure, China can activate its propaganda machinery to wage psychological warfare against India. It can also activate its terror financing networks which, for years, remained a chronic internal security issue for India in the Northeast. China will also collaborate with Pakistan by intensifying terrorism in the Kashmir valley and the northeast of India. Further, China can use its potent disinformation empire to try and peddle fake news about the credibility of India’s indigenous vaccines at a time when the light at the end of the tunnel of a pandemic stricken world has appeared.