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China – Taiwan Conflict UPSC NOTE

 China-Taiwan conflict

  • The China-Taiwan conflict is a complex issue with historical roots and ongoing tensions. Here's a summary:

Background:

  • The civil war between the Chinese Nationalists (Kuomintang or KMT) and the Chinese Communists ended in 1949 with the Communists establishing the People's Republic of China (PRC) on the mainland.

  • The Nationalists retreated to Taiwan, where they established the Republic of China (ROC).

  • China claims Taiwan as a breakaway province and considers reunification a core national interest. 

  • Taiwan, on the other hand, views itself as a sovereign state.

Current Situation:

  • Tensions persist due to differing political systems and China's insistence on ultimate control over Taiwan.

  • China increases military activity near Taiwan and frequently asserts its claim through rhetoric and actions.

  • Taiwan invests in its own defense and maintains strong ties with the United States.

  • Which is obligated by law to provide Taiwan with the means to defend itself.

Potential Flashpoints:

  • China's growing military power and assertiveness raise concerns about a potential invasion of Taiwan.

  • Taiwan's move towards formal independence could be seen as a provocation by China.

  • Any accidental military incident could escalate tensions.

Global Impact:

  • A conflict between China and Taiwan would have a devastating impact on the region and potentially the global economy.

  • Taiwan is a major producer of semiconductors, essential for modern electronics

  • A disruption in supply chains could have severe consequences.

Possible Scenarios:

  • Peaceful resolution through dialogue: This is the preferred outcome, but major concessions by either side seem unlikely at present.

  • Military conflict: This is a dangerous scenario with unpredictable consequences.

  • Continued tensions with occasional flare-ups: This is a possibility, but the risk of escalation remains.

What India can do?

  • Beijing’s strategy for Taiwan uses all instruments of national power, from international law to economic and political leverage, aside from military coercion. 

  • It would doubtless prefer to pursue less costly and disruptive non-military ways as long as they remain viable. 

  • Given the stakes involved, it would only resort to a military campaign once it is satisfied that it has adequately set the conditions for victory.

  • The military balance across the Taiwan Strait will therefore be the most critical deterrent.

  • But non-belligerent states like India can buttress deterrence by convincing Beijing that it has not adequately set the conditions.

  • India has six types of policy options at its fingertips: international law arguments; building narratives opposed to aggression; coordinated diplomatic messaging; economic de-risking.

  • Active information operations to support the Taiwanese people; and military support to the U.S. forces in the Indian Ocean. 

  • Each option can be calibrated to variable levels of ambition and political appetite; and they can be adapted and applied by many other countries.

  • These options can also advance India’s grand strategic position, regardless of their impact on the China-Taiwan dispute

  • Enacting these policies would, first and foremost, lend India more leverage in its intensifying strategic competition with China

  • They also offer additional pathways for India to deepen its cooperation with the U.S., thereby accelerating its national rise. 

  • And they offer a wider agenda for Indian international leadership.

  • Especially among countries of the Global South, which otherwise would be passive or at best uncoordinated in deterring Chinese aggression more broadly.

Effect on Indian Economy 

  • New Delhi has three main reasons to do so

  • First, it has a stake in the status quo with Taiwan as a self-governing territory that does not declare independence. 

  • India and Taiwan have expanded trade seven-fold since 2001 and are exploring a possible free trade agreement. 

  • The Taiwanese firm, Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Corporation, has partnered with the Tata Group to build India’s first semiconductor fabrication plant. 

  • An agreement was signed recently to send Indian workers to Taiwan

  • India’s industry, critical supply chains, and overseas population are all increasingly invested in an enduring peaceful status quo across the Taiwan Strait.

  • Second, any Chinese aggression against Taiwan would be catastrophically costly for India

  • Such a scenario would, in effect, cripple global trade with China and Taiwan, which would create disruptions throughout Asia and West Asia

  • A recent Bloomberg study estimates that the costs of a conflict would amount to over 10% of global GDP

  • India’s economy would suffer a greater shock than the U.S. economy and its most valuable sectors, from electronics to pharmaceuticals, would run dry of components and materials.

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Learnerz IAS | Concept oriented UPSC Classes in Malayalam: China – Taiwan Conflict UPSC NOTE
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