In current scenario, Indo-Pacific region has become the hot bed of competition between the US and the China to enhance their geopolitical influence to exploit the Oceania for political, economic, and strategic gains. Xi Jinping’s agenda to make a China-centric world order or to make it a Global Superpower by 2050 by employing multi-dimensional strategies have enhanced the concerns of very strategically located countries in this region like Taiwan and India whose political, economic interests that are constantly growing due to their progressive economy are on high stakes.
Modus operandi of China is the same whether it is in the case of Taiwan or India which is nothing but to strategically employ the American Political Scientist Robert Putnam’s two level game corollary. In accordance with the Robert Putnam –“Domestic politics determines the International Relations or vice-versa”. In other words, the internal and external aspect of a nation continuously affects or interact each other. China employs this lemma strategically in order to transform the regional political and economic architecture of every region in general and Indo-Pacific region in particular.
On the domestic side China employs various tactics such as interfering in the domestic politics of a nation. For instance, interfering in Taiwan’s elections, information warfare by using social media as a platform to damage the current Taiwan President’s image and makeover the image of KMT’s presidential candidate in addition to proffering fund to influence the domestic political parties are some tactics that China adopts to affect the domestic politics of a nation to advance its hegemonic agenda. In addition to Taiwan, there are numerous examples such as Nepal, India, and Sri Lanka that show this pattern.
These tactics are an integral part of China’s larger coercive strategy which is nothing but to erode the trust in Taiwan’s political system and fragment the Taiwanese society. Furthermore, China, as a part of hybrid warfare, launched countless cyber attacks on Taiwan’s governmental agencies to access government data and crucial information. In the same way, China is continuously making efforts to destabilize India in many ways. Supplying arms and ammunitions to the separatist groups of North-East region, launching the cyber attacks on India’s critical infrastructure, using the Pakistan as its pawn to fulfill its strategic designs to hem India in the region are some of ways that China uses as its warfare strategies against India. Against the aforementioned background, India and Taiwan should devise their strategies by complementing each other to safeguard their geo-political and economic interests and security concerns.
It could be possible only by finding out some common interests, goals, and fulfilling the necessities of each other in which both countries have “comparative and strategic advantage” and as per the limitations posed by their domestic policies and requirements. Both countries support the “Free and Open, Rules-based, and Transparent Order in Indo-Pacific region” which is also the agenda of US and its allies, QUAD, and NATO plus which is about to take place to contain China’s expansionist mentality, overly aggressive behavior, and hegemonic tendencies. To counter China, India and Taiwan should recalibrate their strategies in the current geopolitical scenario in Indo-Pacific region.
Since, the year 2024 is the full of elections therefore China can undertake any adventure to affect or transform the geopolitics of this region. There could be three dimensions in which India and Taiwan can complement to each other that are as elucidated in succeeding paragraphs.
Military Balance in Indo-Pacific Region: It has been the trajectory of China’s warfare strategy that whenever there is a change or shift in the military balance in any region, China without any delay tries to expand its territorial ambitions by changing the political dynamics in that region. For instance, China’s expansion in the South China Sea can be observed when there was an overall shift in military balance. Again, in 1950, China took off half of the Parcel Islands when French Military forces withdrew from that region. They attacked India in 1962 when the two major powers were locked in the Bay of Pigs episode with the western world holding its breath. Therefore, to maintain the military balance in Indo-Pacific region, it is highly desired for countries especially India in order to check the growing threat to its and Taiwan’s geopolitical and economic interests.
Since India and Taiwan are facing same threat therefore, it is highly necessitated that there should be very close security cooperation between India and Taiwan by having the information sharing mechanism between the militaries and intelligence agencies on regular basis to safeguarding the geopolitical and economic interests and security concerns. Furthermore, India is the only country that has the potential to balance China in military sense in Indo-Pacific region. As per Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, China is steadily increasing its defence expenditure in comparison to the other potential actors in this region like Taiwan, the US, Japan.
It will be very difficult for these players to match the military capabilities of the China. Therefore, military alliance among these countries especially Japan India, and the US and improving their striking capabilities will be the key to deter China from invading Taiwan. Military alliance among these countries in addition to high striking capabilities of these actors will compel China to enhance its defence expenditure more and more and deploying its military on increasing basis to protect its interests in this region that will be unsustainable for China in long term.In present scenario, India needs to reorient its foreign policy in the context of Taiwan.
As an Economic Alternative to China: Presently, India has become world’s fifth largest economy and it has huge economic interests in Indo-Pacific region which will be on high stake in case of Taiwan Strait Conflict. Apart from playing a crucial role in balancing China militarily, India should present itself as an economic alternative of China to the countries located in this region. As a fifth largest economy all over the world, India is presently in a position to play a very progressive role as an alternative of China in the supply chain. All countries such as the US, Japan, Taiwan, should be less dependent upon the China in fulfilling their domestic needs because in the event of potential conflict China can regressively impact their economy by preventing the supply of raw material necessary for their economies or imposing economic sanctions against them.
For instance, China imposed sanctions on US two defense companies namely Lockheed Martin Corp. and Raytheon Technologies Corp’s Raytheon Missiles and Defense Division for selling arms to Taiwan. Currently, China has announced the export control on gallium and germanium by citing the reason of national security. These are very crucial raw material in manufacturing the semiconductors and various other industries. Countries like the US, Japan, and the India are fully reliant on the China for supplying these materials. These steps have been taken in the ongoing “Chip War between the US and the China”. In fact, Chip has become the “new oil” because almost all every modern device from a phone to advanced systems are fully dependent on the semiconductors or chip. Here comes the role of Taiwan because Taiwan is the leading the world in semiconductors manufacturing.
Diplomatic Support: India should review its “One China Policy” and change its stand in the present geopolitical context. Although, the present government changed its stand when two Members of Parliament of India along with the actual ambassador attended the swearing ceremony of Taiwan’s President in 2016 but more should be done. Another step could be that India may become the part of the United Nations General Assembly’s resolution for condemning China’s aggression in Taiwan Strait. In addition, India can provide training to Taiwan’s armed force personnel secretly in special operations in addition to setting up of joint consultative mechanism between Tokyo, Washington, and the Taipei to discuss the ways for supporting Taiwan in augmenting its warfare and economic capabilities. International relations of nations cannot be forced to submit to diktats of one country.
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