Two major Indian and Taiwanese think tanks signed a deal which aimed at fostering cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region. India’s National Maritime Foundation (NMF) and Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF) signed a memorandum of understanding, on October 7, at the Yushan Forum. The MoU is mainly intended to deepen Taiwan-India cooperation in maritime affairs and regional development.
“The signing of the memorandum marks the think tanks’ consensus on maintaining regional prosperity and peace, which could serve as a foundation for Taiwan-India relations,” the TAEF said.
NMF secretary-general Pradeep Chauhan and TAEF president Michael Hsiao presided over the signing via videoconferencing. The NMF is India’s primary think tank on maritime issues. The think-tank conducts research and analysis of India’s maritime issues in close cooperation with the Indian Navy.
Hsiao said that the agreement marks the beginning of collaboration that would join research on the Pacific and Indian oceans.
In line with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative, India must develop a supportive framework for the initiative, requiring feedback from India’s officials, policymakers and academics, as well as from around the world, Chauhan said.
The foundations are to regularly hold online seminars and expect to arrange visits once disease prevention measures have lessened, he added.
The memorandum, which is a step up from private collaborations, would help to create a more inclusive Indo-Pacific region, TAEF executive officer Yang Hao said.
Yang echoed Chauhan’s comments on planned forums and visits, saying that the forums would hopefully persuade Indian policymakers to give more weight to Taiwan-Indian cooperation on regional issues.
Yesterday, in their first “closed door” meeting, the think tanks shared their views on the Indian initiative and Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, and established mutual goals, Yang said.
The New Southbound Policy aims to observe and deepen interaction with partner nations, expand collaborative efforts, and promote mutually friendly environments to further economic, industrial, technological, educational, cultural and tourism partnerships.
The partner countries under the policy are the 10 ASEAN members, plus Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, New Zealand, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The meeting also hoped to lay the groundwork for collaborations, Yang added.
The TAEF said that the deal could serve as a foundation for future Taiwan-India talks.
(With inputs from the Taipei Times)