By using Taiwan, India playing with fire: Chinese daily

Beijing, Feb 15 (IANS) India is “playing with fire” and will suffer by using Taiwan to challenge China, an influential Chinese daily warned on Wednesday.

An editorial in the state-run Global Times slammed New Delhi for inviting a delegation from Taiwan.

“At a time when new US President Donald Trump has put the brakes on challenging China over Taiwan, India stands out as a provocateur,” the daily said.

“A female ‘parliamentary’ delegation from Taiwan, at the invitation of India, began a visit to the country on Monday, the first such visit since the Tsai Ing-wen administration took office. High-level visits between India and Taiwan are not very frequent, so why did India invite the Taiwan delegation to visit at this time?

“By challenging China over the Taiwan question, India is playing with fire. To India, the island can not only help realise some of India’s development goals, but also, strategically, check the mainland.”

China claims Taiwan, a self-ruled island since 1949 when the Communists ousted mainland ruler Chiang Kai-shek, who fled here.

China has vowed to unite Taiwan with the mainland one day. Most countries, including India, have no diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Ties between Beijing and Taipei soured after Taiwan last year elected new President Tsai Ing-wen, who advocates independence.

“Some Indians view the Taiwan question as an Achilles’ Heel of the mainland. They have long wanted to use the Taiwan question, the South China Sea and Dalai Lama issues as bargaining chips in dealing with China,” the paper said.

It said the Modi government was using Taiwan card because India was against Chinese-funded economic corridor, which passes through Pakistan-controlled Kashmir claimed by New Delhi as its own.

“With the advancement of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, India’s strategic suspicions about China have been growing. It stubbornly misinterprets the flagship project of the One Belt, One Road Initiative that will benefit countries along the route including India.

“As the corridor passes through the disputed Kashmir, some Indian strategists have advised the Modi government to play the Taiwan card, using the commitment of the ‘One-China’ policy as leverage in exchange for China’s endorsement of ‘One India’.

“Growing Taiwanese investment in India, including steel, telecom and IT, are important to Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign. Although the mainland is a major trading partner of India, political discord … make economic cooperation between the two difficult.

“Tsai is exploiting India’s vigilance and strategic suspicions against China,” it said, adding that Taiwan’s new President viewed India as a key country in her “new southbound policy”, it said.

The newspaper asked India to “be wary of Tsai’s political intentions and avoid being used to confront the mainland”.

–IANS

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