Business & Economy

Racism Risks Jeopardising India-Taiwan Labour Cooperation

© AP Photo / Ajit SolankiConstruction workers watch as Indian Christians release balloons to celebrate the New Year after offering prayers at a Church in Ahmedabad, India, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023.
Construction workers watch as Indian Christians release balloons to celebrate the New Year after offering prayers at a Church in Ahmedabad, India, Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 04.03.2024
Taiwan's decision to prioritise the recruitment of Indian workers from the nation's North-East due to their "similar skin colors and eating habits" has provoked a massive backlash.
Taiwan's Labour Minister Hsu Ming-Chun told domestic media last week that Taipei's Ministry of Foreign Affairs have decided that Indians from the North-Eastern states would be "introduced" in the manufacturing, construction and agriculture sectors to fill critical labour shortage gaps.
Xu also pointed out in the interview that the people and "source area" for the Indian labour would be determined by Taiwanese authorities, in line with the migration and mobility pact inked with the India-Taipei Association on 16 February.
The pact was signed by Baushuan Ger, the representative of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center (TECC) in India, and Manharsinh Laxmanbhai Yadav, director general of the India-Taipei Association.
In fact, Ger held discussions on labour mobility with Lalduhoma, the Chief Minister of north-eastern state of Mizoram, over weekend to advance Taipei's goals under the labour pact.
Taiwanese authorities said that the labour pact would "help mitigate the impact of Taiwan’s aging population and declining birth rate on the country’s workforce", according to a statement.
A rapidly ageing society, Taiwan has for long relied on labour from Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam to take up primarily blue-collar and domestic jobs.

Taiwan's Image in India Dented Due to Racism

Professor Bali R Deepak, Professor of Chinese and China Studies at Centre of Chinese and Southeast Asian Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), told Sputnik India that the racism row will "certainly dent Taiwan's image in India" and reflected its "narrow-mindedness". "It also casts a shadow on Taiwan being a progressive, open minded democratic entity, different from the stereotype Chinese, but the statement of the labour minister proves that the psyche of Taiwan’s elites is no different."

In line with New Delhi's commitment to One China Policy, it doesn't recognise Taiwan, though Indian authorities maintain a representative office in Taipei to bolster cultural and commercial links with the renegade Chinese province.
"Being a multi-ethnic and diverse society, India must reject such a mindset, rather condemn it and stop any labour mobility cooperation with Taiwan that discriminates its citizens on the basis of caste, color or creed," the Indian professor opined.
Similar calls were witnessed on Indian social media, where users also described the discriminatory attitude of the Taiwanese authorities.
Sana Hashmi, an Indian fellow at Taiwan-Asia Exchange Foundation (TAEF) in Taipei, the comments by the Taiwan's labour minister could "negatively impact the trajectory of India-Taiwan relations and tarnish perceptions of Taiwan among Indians".
"They risk reversing the strides made in fostering people-to-people connections over the past few years," Hashmi warned.
Indian workers - Sputnik India, 1920, 15.11.2023
Political Affairs
'Taiwanese Proposal' to Bring in 100,000 Indian Workers Provokes Racist Backlash
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