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Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy Needs to Focus More on India

15 8 0

This year marks the fifth anniversary of Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy (NSP). Often lauded as the Tsai administration’s flagship foreign policy initiative, the NSP expands the scope of countries covered in the Go South Policy, which was in practice under former Presidents Lee Teng-hui and Chen Shui-bian. Through the policy, Taiwan has extended engagement with Australia, New Zealand, India, and its five South Asian neighbors. Adding India into Taiwan’s foreign policy agenda is big.

The NSP is not just an effort to reach out; it is also a response to the looming crisis of Taiwan’s shrinking diplomatic space. Of late, China has driven away several of Taiwan’s diplomatic partners, especially in the South Pacific. President Tsai Ing-wen’s government understands that if this Chinese attack is not deflected, it might turn into a diplomatic recognition crisis for Taiwan.

Compared to the previous government, the Tsai administration has put in more efforts to engage India. While outcomes still lag behind expectations, it cannot be denied that India-Taiwan relations have improved, particularly in the case of people-to-people connections. But beyond the hype, it is also clear that within Taiwan’s strategic discourse, India is yet to figure in the main list.

Part of the reason is that Taiwan’s strategic discourse is still heavily tilted in favor of the Western world, and countries such as India do not figure prominently.........

© The Diplomat

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