Taiwan’s representative Baushuan Ger has praised India as a protector of democracy, who always stands up for justice, peace and stability – and touted a “gargantuan untapped well” of mutually beneficial deals, should only New Delhi see the island “in its own right.”

“We need to join hands to fend off the expansion of autocracy,” because India “is just like Taiwan, standing at the forefront in the face of aggressive and belligerent authoritarian regimes,” said the chief of Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India, Baushuan Ger, in an interview with PTI on Sunday.

“It is my sincere hope that India sees Taiwan in its own right,” Ger said, insisting that “closer collaboration between the two is not only desirable but necessary.”

“We can and should collaborate more on cyber, space, maritime, green energy, food security and even tourism and gastronomy,” he explained, while alluding to the growing popularity of yoga and Bollywood movies in Taiwan as signs of cultural affinity.

New Delhi has no official diplomatic relations with Taipei, but like many countries has a special body to promote informal interactions and business relations, the India-Taipei Association (ITA). Taiwan has been self-governed since 1949, when China’s nationalist government fled to the island following its defeat in the civil war. Only a handful of nations, mostly microstates, officially recognize it as an independent entity.

While not openly calling on India to immediately abandon the ‘One China’ policy, Ger claimed that Beijing has misled the world into misinterpreting the principle UNGA Resolution 2758 that recognized the People’s Republic of China as “the only legitimate representative of China to the United Nations.”

Beijing has repeatedly warned that the principle of acknowledging the mainland’s claim of sovereignty over Taiwan is a red line in China’s relations with other countries that no one is allowed to cross. Following a provocative visit to the island by Nancy Pelosi, the third most senior official in the US government, China pledged to “take necessary and resolute countermeasures.”

After Beijing conducted a series of large-scale military drills in areas around Taiwan, Indian External Affairs Ministry’s pokesperson Arindam Bagchi said that New Delhi was “concerned” and “urged the exercise of restraint, avoidance of unilateral actions to change status quo, de-escalation of tensions and efforts to maintain peace and stability in the region.”

“India’s relevant policies are well-known and consistent. They do not require reiteration,” he added, reaffirming but not directly mentioning the ‘One China’ principle.

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