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Air India row: Taiwan accuses India of succumbing to “absurd” pressure from China

Air India is the latest to join international airlines in changing the name of Taiwan to Chinese Taipei after China’s civil aviation authority issued a formal communication to them

Taiwan has taken a strong exception to Air India changing the name of Taiwan to “Chinese Taipei,” with the country’s mission in India saying that it was “deeply disappointed” and the action could be seen in the light of New Delhi “succumbing to unreasonable and absurd pressure from China.”

“Taipei Economic and Cultural Center in India (TECC) is deeply disappointed with Air India changing Taiwan into Chinese Taipei on its website and regrets that this move taken by Air India, a state-owned airline, can be seen as a gesture of succumbing to the unreasonable and absurd pressure from China,” said a strongly-worded statement from the Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre, Taiwan government’s official representative in India.

India has no diplomatic channels with Taiwan but the island has Taipei Economic and Cultural Centre in India.

The statement went on to add that such “politically motivated bully” actions undermine freedom of doing business and expression of opinion.

“Therefore, free and democratic nations should work together to protect their common values and interests,” said Taiwan’s envoy to India, Chung Kwang Tien.

“Ambassador Tien calls on Air India to stand up against the unreasonable demand from the government of People’s Republic of China and promptly restore the name of Taiwan on its official website,” it said.

The Taiwanese mission said that it had strongly objected to the move during talks with the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and was waiting for an official response.

China had earlier today welcomed Air India’s decision to refer to self-ruled Taiwan as Chinese Taipei, saying foreign companies must respect the country’s sovereignty.

The Indian state-owned carrier is the latest to join international airlines in changing the name of the self-governed island after China’s civil aviation authority issued a formal communication to them.

“Our position on this issue is quite clear. The Indian side and other countries must be very clear with our position on this issue,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang.