Taiwan’s leader arrives in India Tuesday


New Delhi : Taiwan's opposition leader and presidential candidate Ma Ying-jeou arrives here Tuesday on a two-day visit – the first by a senior Taiwanese leader to India, which follows one-China policy.

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Ma, the leading light of Kuomintang (KMT), or Nationalist Party, which is known for its pro-unification stance, is expected to meet the chief of the ruling United Progressive Alliance, Sonia Gandhi, and Bharatiya Janata Party leaders Atal Bihari Vajpayee and L.K. Advani.

As Ma's stated purpose of visiting India is to get a fix on its economic reforms programme and its emerging status as an IT giant, the 56-year-old Harvard educated lawyer and a former mayor of Taipei, will visit India's National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM).

He will deliver a lecture on the role of Taiwan's economy in the regional and international economy at the Sapru House Tuesday. The lecture has been organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs, India's premier think tank.

Ma's visit to India has generated considerable interest in Beijing and will be watched by the Chinese embassy here with interest.

Chinese diplomats have conveyed to New Delhi that it has no problems with Ma's visit to India as long as he does not sport a Taiwanese flag on his car or flaunt any independent Taiwanese insignia or identity.

India has done a delicate balancing act in its relations with Taiwan. Keeping in mind Beijing's sensitivities on the issue, it has not given any formal recognition to Taiwan, but this has not prevented New Delhi from developing trade relations with Taipei.

Bilateral trade between India and Taiwan is estimated at around $5 billion with Taiwan increasing investment in areas of IT, electronics, science and technology.

Over 35,000 Indians are working in Taipei, mostly in software and academics.