One China Policy: Should India Reconsider It?

A group of experts recently held a webinar organised by Udaipur-based NGO Usanas foundation on “Rethinking India’s ‘One China Policy’: Tragedy of Tibet”. The list of speakers had names of Former Special Secretary, Krishan Varma, Prof. Srikanth Kondapalli, Abhijeet Iyer-Mitra Senior Fellow, Institute of Peace and Conflict Studies and Tibetan Activist and Writer Tenzin Tsundue.

Experts have said that India should support the democratic government in Hong Kong, must establish economic and technological relations with Taiwan. On 18 Apr, 2018, The Modi Government announced its revised Foreign Direct Investment Policy which stated that for China to invest in any venture in India it will have to take the Indian Government’s approval first.

Since last few years Taiwan has also invested in Indian Energy and Technology sector so the question arises that will the new policy stop Taiwan’s Investment too? The answer is no as India has declared that the revised policy will not apply on Taiwan hence continuing its friendly relations with Taiwan.

Background


Since 1949, India has followed One China policy and in 1950, India became the first non-published country to establish diplomatic relations with China.

China was ruled by Qing Dynasty from 1644 to 1912. In 1894, Japan attacked on China and captured the present day country known as Korea, a part of Island and Present known island country Taiwan. It came to be known as 1st Sino-Japan War. In the aftermath of the war the Qing Dynasty started to fall apart.

To unify the fallen China, a brave person named as Sun-Yat-San came forward. In 1912, he formed a party named as Kaumin Tang Party (Republic of China). He succeeded in his mission but, the success did not stay for long. After the death of Mr. Sun-Yat-Sun in 1925, the party got divided into two parts namely Nationalists and Communists. The Nationalists party was led by Chang Kai Skek while the latter was led by Mao Zedong. Both the leaders wanted to retain the dream of Sun-Yat-Sun but began to grow distant due to the difference of opinions. Further, mao Zedong wanted to have full control of China.

The distribution took place due to the difference of views of the two parties:

  • The nationalists believed that the citizens shall be given the power to decide on how they should live while the communists believed that the party should decide that how the citizens should live.
  • The nationalists believed in democracy while the communists believed in dictatorship.

 In 1927, however the difference took the shape of civil war wherein the nationalists began to kill the members of the communist parties along with their families in Shanghai.

On the other hand, Japan in 1931 captured one of the largest states of China, Manchuria. It tortured the people of China like hell. Whoever spoke Chinese was shot dead. Later, declared 2nd Sino-Japan War in1935 which ended in 1945 after nuclear attack.

After Japan’s retreat Manchuria came to China and communists started to plot against Nationalists. They took the help of Russia (also a communist country) to eliminate the latter. Later, in 1949, communists declared mainland China as a communist country and named it as People’s Republic of China (PRC). The nationalists, who were around 20 lakh, under the leadership of Chang Kai Skek took all the cattle and all the needful things and moved to an island named Formosa known as Taiwan today. With this the civil war continued till 1950.

Chang Kai Skek declared the island to be Republic of China (ROC) and pledged to bring the other counterpart with his country which he claimed to be ‘real’ China.

 Washington and other countries recognized Taiwan as Real China. United Nations which was established in 1945 gave Taiwan a permanent seat. But, in 1971, Washington’s President Richard Nixon began to shift to People’s Republic of China and Taiwan lost its permanent seat in United Nations as well.

People’s Republic of China (PRC) claims that there is only ‘one’ China and that Taiwan is it inalienable part.

In 1992, an agreement was signed between Chinese communist party and Kuomintang named as “Consensus”. It states that there is only one China but allows for differing interpretations and that Taiwan will not seek independence. However, in January 2019, the President of Republic of China (Taiwan)   Tsai Ing -Wen declared that ‘one country, two systems’ framework will no longer be acceptable thereby, rejecting the ‘Consensus’.

Present Scenario

Amidst the face-off between China and India on Line of Actual Control (LAC), Taiwan had released a poster showing Lord Rama preparing a arrow to shoot the Chinese Dragon citing “We Conquer. We Kill”. This shows how much Taiwan supports India. Furthermore, it provided masks to India and warned it about COVID 19 in 2019.

Although the diplomatic relation between Taiwan and India are unofficial but they have improved a lot and should continue to develop further.

The webinar has raised various rational points.

  • It is believed that India should show its full support to Taiwan.
  • It should support the efforts Tibetians to have self-rule.
  • India shall allow Uighur leaders to visit the country which has been denied several times in the past.
  • It should increase its relations with Taiwan since it’s a technology and economic superpower.
  • It should refrain from recognizing the annexation of Tibet and Turkestan.

Former Deputy National Security Advisor Arvind Gupta has expressed his concerns that India is not taking a dynamic approach and has not moved much in revising policy and taking forward. During a webinar recently organized by Law and Society Alliance and Defence, he suggested that India should be supporting the attempts of the Tibetans to achieve self-rule and should provide Dalai Lama more recognition and position in diplomatic engagements, aside from visibility in India’s political circles. Along with this, India must begin economic and technological engagements with Taiwan, besides supporting it politically. He also recommended garnering India’s support to the democratic movement in Hong Kong, albeit India doesn’t join the western countries’ joint efforts at isolating China in geopolitics. He also recommended Indian support to the voices against human rights violations in Xinjiang at global fora.[1]

Conclusion

If China mandates the countries to sign One China Policy to allow them to do trade with it then India should also make it mandatory for all countries to sign One India Policy stating that Jammu & Kashmir and Arunachal Pradesh are India’s part. China should know that this is not 1962 (in reference to Indo-China War, 1962). This is New India.

Plus, I believe that when in India during the fight for Independence, Pakistan was given to Muslim League (Mohammad Ali Jinnah) as an independent State then why can’t China do the same for Taiwan?

India should fully support Taiwan and bring technology from it. This will reduce our dependence on China for electrical goods which comprises of maximum part of goods exported to India from China. In return India can sell weapons and missiles (Brahmos) to Taiwan to strengthen its defense. This will show our full support to Taiwan.

After all this, this is for sure that India needs to ReThink its One China Policy.


[1]S. Manish, “Experts ask India to revise ‘One China’ policy, urges it to consider these five points immediately’, 23 Jun, 2020

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