Wednesday, 24 April, 2019

Taiwan Protests Air India's Name Change as Kowtowing to Beijing

Prodded by Beijing Air India joins others Taiwan is now Chinese Taipei Taiwan Presses U.S. Airlines to Stand Up to Beijing on One China Policy
Deanna Wagner | 10 July, 2018, 12:24

The Air India spokesperson had said it followed the procedure as advised by the Ministry of External Affairs in updating its website with respect to changing name of Taiwan.

Even as the government strongly defended national carrier Air India's decision to rename Taiwan as Chinese Taipei on its website on Wednesday, the Taiwan representative to India protested and lodged a formal complaint with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

China had earlier raised concerns at various worldwide airlines describing Taiwan as a separate region.

Andrew Lee, a spokesperson for Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said his ministry has asked its representative in New Delhi to lodge a protest with Air India, the news channel reported.

Now, while Air India does not service Taiwan directly, it does have a code-sharing agreement with Air China, which means that Air India can sell seats in Air China under its own airline designator. "Air India's action shows its respect for this and deserves to be recognized".

He was responding to a question about the Indian flag carrier's decision to refer to self-ruled Taiwan as Chinese Taipei and if China was respecting "one-India policy".

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Several worldwide airlines stopped referring to Taiwan as a separate country since China had objection to it in April.

Under its "One China" policy, Beijing considers Taiwan a province and opposes ties between Taipei and other capitals. The United States termed the demand "Orwellian nonsense" in May.

USA overtures towards Taiwan, from unveiling a new de facto embassy to passing the Taiwan Travel Act, which encourages US officials to visit, have further escalated tension between Beijing and Taipei. According to reports, the Indian government maintains an office as the India-Taipei Association. He said Chinese Defence Minister Gen Wei Fenghe would also visit India later this year.

China wants global companies to drop references to Taiwan as an independent entity.

In summary, China's Civil Aviation Authority has sent a letter to 36 foreign airlines on April 25, 2018, asking them to identify Taiwan as a part of China and not a sovereign country.

Yesterday's decision comes as the government has gone the extra mile to make nice with China in the past few months, raising questions about whether India had compromised its traditional positions.