India - Taiwan: Agreement on Migration and Mobility


India - Taiwan: Agreement on Migration and Mobility

Indian labour is in demand in many countries, including Russia, Israel and now Taiwan.  In mid-February, India and Taiwan signed an agreement on migration and mobility, enabling Indian workers to seek employment on the island. Taiwan faces shortfall of workers in the fields of manufacturing, construction and agriculture. The industries, the number of jobs, the expertise necessary, language skills and recruitment procedures have yet to be finalised. It appears that the Taiwanese government would determine these, while the Indian government would conduct training.

The first lot, writes Harsha Kakar (retired Major-General of the Indian Army) “is expected to be recruited from the North East which has similarity in religion and food habits. It is expected that there would be a pilot scheme prior to implementing the accord. Overall, about 100,000 will be ultimately hired. Unofficial inputs indicate that there is also an increased demand for caregivers to cater for the aging Taiwanese population…..” Apart from India, Taiwan also sources skilled and semi-skilled manpower from Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand.

Migrant workers to Israel: During PM Modi’s visit to Israel in May 2023, a similar agreement for 42,000 migrant workers was inked. There are already over 18,000 Indians in Israel, either as students or caregivers.

The agreement, states Kakar  “would benefit both countries. The Indian government is working towards building India as a global destination for skilled and semiskilled workforce. The nation most irked by this agreement, solely because it has been ignored, is China….” which  “objects to any nation enhancing ties with Taiwan…”


Taiwan’s ‘New Southbound Policy’

Taiwan is currently pursuing a ‘New Southbound Policy,’ which implies moving manufacturing away from the Chinese mainland, into South Asian nations. Foxconn, a prominent Apple supplier, has established an iPhone manufacturing facility in Tamil Nadu and is planning another in Karnataka. India is also requesting Taiwanese semiconductor companies to establish their manufacturing plants in India. The Indo-Taiwan agreement comes at a time when tensions with China are high and the border dispute lingers. Simultaneously, India continues with its anti-China stance in global forums.


Three former service chiefs in Taiwan

The presence of three former service chiefs at Taiwan’s Ketagalan Forum, a Taipei sponsored Indo-Pacific Security Dialogue, in August last year, on the invitation of the Taiwanese government and approved by New Delhi, writes the former General “did not go unnoticed by Beijing. Admiral Karambir Singh, the former naval chief, was the only active Indian participant in a panel discussion.”:

He warned: “In the event a conflict breaks out in the Taiwan Straits, it will certainly not be contained within the Straits, and we’ll have serious geopolitical and economic consequences globally — and, to my mind, much more serious than the effects of the Ukraine conflict.”

India, whose economic trade is seabound will be impacted. The visit of former chiefs only confirmed India’s determination to counter China.

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