By Tenzin Dharpo
DHARAMSHALA, July 7: India has joined the long list of nations that have succumbed to pressure from China after its national carrier Air India changed “Taiwan” to “Chinese Taipei” on their website.
The spokesperson of Air India said that the move to update the airline's website with respect to changing name of Taiwan was advised by the Ministry of External Affairs. Air India describes Taiwan as 'Taipei, Taoyuan International Airport, TPE, Chinese Taipei' on its website.
On July 3, Chinese government mouthpiece Global Times
in an opinion piece stated, that Air India listing Taiwan as a country, “goes against India's official stance”.
"Recognizing that there is only one China in the world, that the government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate government representing all of China, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of Chinese territory is the condition on which China establishes diplomatic ties with all countries," the article had said.
A representative from Taiwan’s Economic and Cultural Centre in India (TECC) Chung Kwang Tien, citing a formal letter of protest to MEA from Taiwanese government, expressed fear that “if such politically motivated bully actions are let to prevail, people’s freedom in doing business and in their expression of opinion may be undermined; therefore, free and democratic nations should work together to protect their common values and interests.”
However, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “The decision of Air India is consistent with international norms and our own position on Taiwan since 1949”.
Indian scholar and leading voice on Asia’s geopolitical scene Brahma Chellaney tweeted, “SHAMEFUL: National Carrier Air India says external affairs ordered it to change Taiwan’s name to “Chinese Taipei” on its website. This is the latest Indian step this year to propitiate China. Has China taken even a tiny step to commit itself to a “One-India” policy?”
Leading airlines such as American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, and Vietnam Airlines have continued to list Taiwan as a separate nation despite China’s insistence.