Along side the COVID-19 outbreak last year, Xi’s China remained a major source of concern for its neighbors on both side; i.e. India and Taiwan. On one hand, India faced illegal Chinese intrusion along the western sector of disputed Line of Control, while on other, Taiwan witnessed the highest number of airspace intrusion since its democratic transition. Focused on these increased aggressive posturing of China around its neighborhood, this issue attempts to reflect on the changing perception of China under Xi’s leadership.
With the rise of aggressive China, the indo-pacific region has taken a central stage in the security posturing of regional and global powers. In this context, the reinvigoration of Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (QUAD) mechanism, an informal consultative platform comprising Australia, India, Japan and the United States, has drawn major attention. In this CSSAME issue, both the scholars debate the less-talked about role of Taiwan in relation to Quad’s aims and mechanisms. Taiwan is analyzed as a vital piece to the successful progression of both traditional and non-traditional security ambitions of Quad nations. Though there is a hesitation in predicting a real time participation of Taiwan in the mechanism itself in near future, both the authors agree on the shared normative interest of the four nations and democratic Taiwan in ensuring ‘free and open Indo-pacific’. The issue also points out that any active engagement of Taiwan with QUAD mechanism immensely depends on its bilateral relations with India and India’s eagerness to reinvent and repurpose its Taiwan approach.
COVID-19 has presented a new hope, direction and potential for India-Taiwan relations. Both authors concur that Taiwan’s efficient handling of the pandemic coupled with China’s aggressive stance on both India and Taiwan has ushered a new era of civil-society and people’s support for Taiwan in India. ‘Taiwan-Model’ garnered appreciation, gathered support and filled the communication gap between both the countries through webinars and media-campaigns. Both countries have enough common development space and the new civil-society activeness would likely to motivate if not compel the two governments to work together.