Congress leader and MP Shashi Tharoor today said that if China misbehaves with India further, the government has the option to play the ‘Taiwan card’ just like the US.
Tharoor’s reaction came following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the island nation amid threats from China, which China considers as its own territory.
China has said that it will hold a series of live-fire military drills in the air and sea around the island from Thursday.
Speaking to India Today, the Congress MP said that the Taiwan situation is something most of the world recognizes as ‘One China Policy’ but at the same time maintains a distinct economic relationship with Taiwan.
He added, “We in India have delegations in Taiwan staffed by the foreign service but we call it an economic delegation and not an embassy and that is what the countries also do.”
Speaking about Pelosi’s visit, Tharoor said that she is the head of Congress Speaker and does not require the US government’s permission to go anywhere as it is a completely independent branch of the government but China is not about it. “I don’t think her visit will provoke any war,” Tharoor added.
“We are maintaining relations but we have been doing this in a very low profile manner. We have never sent a speaker or a vice-president to anything like that. Whether we should up the scale and do that is a calibrated decision at the moment that I do not think we need to take right now,” he added.
Talking about China’s threat to the US during the Speaker’s visit, Tharoor said, “If at all the Chinese misbehaves with us, this is one of the cards we can also play to show that we are also willing and ready to upgrade our level of contact with Taiwan.”
Asked if the opportunity arises, whether a delegation led by Indian Speaker Om Birla should go to Taiwan, the Congress MP said, “The ministry should choose an appropriate time to play that card because once you play it, you cannot repeat it. Although we have never sent anybody at that level but it is an option that we should never rule out.”
Asked about whether the Chinese would opt for an all-out war amid the threats and rhetorics coming from them, Tharoor said, “As far as China is concerned this is (Taiwan) a matter of prestige for them, so they have taken a very tough line. Whether in practice they would do anything more than they have done so far (flying their aircraft near the dividing line), it is not in their interest to provoke an international war. I believe this will pass.”
(with India Today inputs)