Thursday, February 16, 2006

india and taiwan playing footsie

feb 16th

alas, this is premium content so here are a few excerpts:

LIKE Cinderella, Taiwan has been a late arrival at the Indian ball. Big, ugly step-sister China has stood in the way. Back in 1950, India recognised the People's Republic, not the rival regime in Taipei, and relations with the island have been tenuous ever since. Taiwan now wants to change that. It has become newly aware of India's potential as an economic partner. In the words of Hsiao Bi-kim, who last month led the first delegation from Taiwan's parliament to visit India, "It is in Taiwan's strategic interest to promote India as an alternative investment centre to China."

On February 11th, the Taiwan-India Co-operation Council was launched in Taipei. Chaired by Yu Shyi-kun, a former prime minister, it is intended to raise India's profile among Taiwan's businesses and help persuade them to diversify away from China. This week, as part of the drive, a second delegation of parliamentarians from Taiwan arrived in Delhi.

Nearly two-fifths of Taiwan's exports go to China, which is also the destination for more than two-thirds of Taiwan's total stock of foreign investment. Since China has never renounced what it says is its right to "reunify" Taiwan by force if necessary, this economic interdependence gives its government periodic jitters.


Everyone agrees there is potential, if only because the base is so small. Trade with India accounts for only 0.67% of Taiwan's total. By the end of 2004, Taiwan's investment in India totalled just $116m (compared with, according to understated official figures, $41.7 billion in China). But, as Taiwan's government found in the early 1990s, when it tried, largely unavailingly, to persuade its businesses to diversify into Vietnam and other South-East Asian countries, China has a big magnetic pull: culturally, linguistically and geographically.


Everyone agrees there is potential, if only because the base is so small. Trade with India accounts for only 0.67% of Taiwan's total. By the end of 2004, Taiwan's investment in India totalled just $116m (compared with, according to understated official figures, $41.7 billion in China). But, as Taiwan's government found in the early 1990s, when it tried, largely unavailingly, to persuade its businesses to diversify into Vietnam and other South-East Asian countries, China has a big magnetic pull: culturally, linguistically and geographically.


On February 16th, the Chinese ambassador in Delhi issued a statement warning India "to refrain from sending any wrong signal to 'Taiwan independence' forces". Maintaining the recent improvement in relations with Beijing is a foreign-policy priority for India's government—and its firms. So some of Ms Hsiao's delegation, for example, were refused Indian visas. India, it seems, is no Prince Charming.


re yellow highlight: add racism to the list

re red highlight: should tell the darn chinese ambassador to shut his gob, or kick him out


KapiDhwaja said...

re red highlight: should tell the darn chinese ambassador to shut his gob, or kick him out

Totally agree with you Rajeev. Add to the list another dog, the chinese consulate guy in Mumbai who had the temerity to speak up against our Defence minister.

KapiDhwaja said...

Bharat & La France by Francois Gautier..

Agree with the author that India can't puts its eggs in the American basket alone, when it comes to Fighter aircraft procurement, nuke deal etc.

KapiDhwaja said...

Also from the Economist.. Posting in part as it is copyrighted.

All these would, of course, be dwarfed by a serious incident involving Taiwan. That is unlikely, but not impossible. Some pundits fear that the island might be tempted to use the approach to the Olympics as cover for steps toward independence, hoping China's fear of wrecking the games would mute its response. On this theory, the most ardent pro-independence forces in Taiwan might think it better to act than to wait: mainland military strength is growing steadily, and a future American administration might be less likely than the incumbent one to defend Taiwan. China certainly takes the idea seriously. A Chinese general, Peng Guangqian, said two years ago that Taiwan was mistaken if it thought China “might not raise a hand because of the Olympics.”

I hope Taiwan declares independence in 2007. I know that the Chinese Communist thugs would be too worried about their image and loss of face to attempt an invasion of Taiwan just before the Olympics, incase of Taiwanese declaration of independence. Any military action would put paid to Beijing Olympics 2008..

KapiDhwaja said...

Rajeev, this is a great article from B.Raman, tearing apart the dumb, arrogant Sardar ruling us. Nehru was equally arrogant too, especially when it came to our foreign policy, and 'secularism'.

Posting in full. A must read...

U.S. and India’s neocons
By B. Raman

Camp Kozhikode: The Eisenhower administration (1952-1960) in the United States was critical of the advocacy of a socialistic pattern of society by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, and his emulation of the Soviet model of a planned economy. It was also critical of the importance attached by Nehru to the development of heavy industries in India. It felt that independent India should focus on agricultural development and should not waste its scarce resources on the development of heavy industries.

It, therefore, followed a policy of not helping India in its industrial development. Nehru had to seek the assistance of the communist countries of East Europe for the implementation of the plans for industrial development. China, which was in receipt of greater assistance than India from the other communist countries, established a head-start over India.

John F. Kennedy, who came to office in January 1961, realised that the policy of not helping India in its industrial development was proving counter-productive and could redound to the advantage of China. He wanted India to demonstrate that a democratic state could develop faster than a communist state. He, therefore, decided to change the policy followed by Eisenhower and offered to assist India in setting up its fourth steel plant at Bokaro. Nehru gratefully accepted the offer.

Kennedy’s decision was strongly opposed by a group of members of the US Congress headed by Senator Stuart Symington. During the debate on Kennedy’s decision, they raised various extraneous issues such as India’s foreign policy, its close relations with the USSR, its opposition to regional military pacts, its policy on Kashmir etc.

Nehru felt that the acceptance of the various conditions sought to be imposed on India as a quid pro quo for the US assistance would be detrimental not only to the dignity of India as a proud and independent nation, but also to the future of Indo-US relations. He attached considerable importance to India’s relations with the US and did not want these relations to be damaged by the efforts to impose conditions on India for US assistance. He wrote a beautiful letter to Kennedy suggesting that in view of the controversy raised by the latter’s offer, it would be in the long-term interest of Indo-US relations to drop the proposal. Kennedy agreed.

The current controversy over the Indo-US nuclear deal signed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh with President Bush during his visit to Washington DC in July last reminds one of the debate of the early Sixties over Kennedy’s offer of assistance. The contexts of the two debates are different, but the likely implications for the nation’s dignity are not.

Why are the contexts different? Nehru was the darling of the masses. Dr Manmohan Singh would be the first to admit he is not. He is the darling of a small group of strategic analysts blinded by fascination for the US, which has hijacked India’s policymaking apparatus and is trying to push it in a direction which could be detrimental to India’s long-term interests as a pluralistic state with the second largest Muslim community in the world of which all of us ought to be proud.

The pro-US evangelical fervour of this group and its unconcealed contempt for those advising caution bring to mind the similar fervour of the group of neoconservatives in the US which hijacked the policymaking apparatus after the election of Bush. Nehru was the elected leader of the people. Dr Manmohan Singh would be the first to admit he is not. There was hardly any opposition to Nehru. If he had wanted, he could have been a dictator, but he was a born democrat who realised that if democracy had to take roots in India, he had to pay heed to those who thought differently from him on matters of national importance. He interacted with the people and with various shades of political and public opinion in order to educate them, explain to them his thinking and policies and to constantly feel the pulse of the nation.

Can you think of a single instance when Nehru tried to force controversial policies down the throat of the people and justify his action in the name of enlightened national interest? Can you think of a single member of Nehru’s staff who tried to protect him by discrediting those critical of his policies? The reported attempts of some members of Dr Manmohan Singh’s staff to discredit those critical of his policies remind one of the similar techniques followed by the members of the staff of President Richard Nixon and President Bush. Remember Bob Haldeman of Nixon’s staff who used to browbeat and ridicule Nixon’s critics? Does Dr Manmohan Singh realise the damage which such advisers are causing not only to his image, but also to the health of Indian democracy?

Nehru was a born statesman. He believed in open policies, openly arrived at, openly discussed and openly implemented. He guided the people and let himself be guided by their hopes, fears and aspirations. He was not manipulative. He never circumvented public opinion. He never thought he knew more than his people and than the critics of his policies.

Nehru was the most transparent Prime Minister India has had, though there were occasions when his transparency left much to be desired. In respect of Sino-Indian relations, for example. How transparent Dr Singh has been with us? Do we, the people of India, know why the desperate hurry for reaching the deal with the US? Was it not possible to undertake the work of separation of our civilian and military nuclear facilities through our own national initiative instead of doing it as part of a bilateral deal with the US? Does not the incorporation of the issue of separation in a bilateral deal with the US give the US a pressure point on India?

What is the quid pro quo the US has extracted from us? What are the details of the separation plan submitted to the US? Why the sudden dilution in our enthusiasm for the gas pipeline from Iran? Why was Mani Shankar Aiyar stripped of the petroleum portfolio? Remember the kind of pressure the US exercised on Nehru to make him drop V.K. Krishna Menon from the Cabinet and how Nehru resisted it? Have we become so weak today that we let the US have a say on who should handle what portfolio?

Why are we silent on various international developments agitating the minds of our Muslim minority such as the allegations regarding the desecration of the Holy Quran at Guantanamo Bay or the calculated insult to the Holy Prophet in Denmark? Why were we silent when the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) penetrated our intelligence community and helped Maj. Rabindra Singh of the R&AW flee to the US? Did not Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao retaliate when the CIA penetrated the R&AW and the IB during their time? Did not China shoot down a US spy plane which intruded into its air space in 2001 without worrying about its consequences for Sino-American relations?

Why are we so deferential to the US? There are dozens of important questions having a bearing on our national dignity and our national interest to which the Americans seem to know the answers more than us, the people of India. The elected representatives of the people of the US seem to be trusted more than those of the people of India. The requirements and sensitivities of the Americans are being given greater importance than those of us, the people of India. Every time questions are raised and doubts expressed, the stock reply is, everything is being done in national interest. Does it mean the sceptics and critics do not understand national interests? Does it mean Dr Manmohan Singh is the most enlightened man India has produced and all we have to do is to follow him uncritically?

When one asks why all this secrecy from your own people, one is told by those surrounding Dr Singh that secrecy is nothing unusual in sensitive matters. Were the previous governments not secretive about our plans for acquiring a military nuclear capability? Yes, they were. They were secretive because they were worried that international public opinion might force them to change their plans. The present government is afraid not of international public opinion, but that of its own people. By secretly going ahead with our plans for the nuclear weapons, we confronted the international community with a fait accompli. By secretly going ahead with its plans for a deal with the US, the present government is trying to confront its own people with a fait accompli.

What does India hope to get in return? Permanent membership of the UN Security Council? Nobody even talks of it now. Civilian nuclear power? It is not for tomorrow or even the day after. It is years and even decades away, if at all it comes through. In the meanwhile, we are frittering away whatever domestic capabilities we have built up.

The pro-US cabal surrounding Dr Manmohan Singh tells us that the US wants to help India emerge a major power of Asia. Like it helped Germany, Japan and China to emerge as major powers. So we are told. China is on the way to becoming a major power not because of the US, but in spite of it. It knows how to assert its national interests and maintain its national dignity. Do we?

In 2004, the National Intelligence Council (NIC) of the US, in its annual assessment, described India and China as on the road to becoming major powers. No one was more excited by this assessment than our pro-US cabal. How many times has this been cited by them in their articles? We are on the road to becoming a major power, because the US has said so, Ms Condoleezza Rice has said so. So we are told. How many Chinese analysts have you found who quote from the NIC assessment? They know that if China emerges as a major power it will be because of its own policies and hard work and not because of the US.

Till two years ago, the International Islamic Front of Osama bin Laden with its pan-Islamic ideology was shunned by the Indian Muslim community. There are now disturbing signs that more and more of our Muslim youth are drifting towards international jihadi organisations. The demonstrations by sections of the Muslims of India over the Danish cartoons are a wake-up call for our policymakers that our Muslim community is getting concerned over some aspects of the external policies of the present government.
You point this out and this cabal accuses you of trying to communalise our foreign policy. Indian Muslims are concerned only over domestic policies towards them.

They are not bothered over our foreign policy. So we are told. Nothing can be more naive and more dangerous. One is reminded of how the neoconservatives told Bush that the Iraqis were waiting to welcome the US troops as liberators. The policymaking cabal surrounding Dr Manmohan Singh is living in a make-believe world of its own creation. Totally cut off from realities. One has reasons to be concerned.
B. Raman is Additional Secretary (retired), Cabinet Secretariat, Government of India