New Delhi, Feb. 11: The BJP has used Taiwan to tickle the UPA government out of its shyness on Tawang.
Three BJP leaders recently returned from a highly fruitful visit to Taiwan during which they meet Taiwanese Prime Minister Frank Hsieh as well other political leaders.
A move that is sure to raise questions by Beijing, the BJPs initiative will also put New Delhi in an embarrassing position as it goes against Indias stated position on the one China policy.
In the Indo-Chinese joint statement last month, India committed it would oppose any activity that goes against the one China principle. Taiwan does not have an embassy in Delhi but it has an establishment called Taipei Economical and Cultural Centre which takes care of travel permits.
In the BJP delegation was Khiren Rijiju, the MP from Arunchal Pradesh who usually takes the lead in articulating his partys strong views on the state that China has not recognised as a part of India.
Rijiju was accompanied to Taiwan by former power minister Suresh Prabhu and BJP spokesperson Prakash Javdekar during the trip from January 30 to February 4.
We went there to protest against the Prime Ministers silence on the security of Arunachal, Rijiju told The Telegraph.
Back in his home state, Rijiju said over phone that people in Tawang are confused over the signals that Delhi was sending by not talking about the security of Arunachal.
The BJP may announce that a cultural exchange between Taiwan and India would happen soon through a forum to be set up in India, leaving the foreign ministry with many red faces.
The ministry last week tried brushing under the carpet news of an informal protest from the Chinese against the Prime Ministers visit to Arunachal.
Sources said that late last month the Prime Minister had also dropped Tawang from his itinerary in Arunachal because of Chinese pressure. Preparations had been made by the army as well as the administration in Tawang to host the Prime Ministers delegation, the sources said.
Rijiju said he chose to visit Taiwan as an MP to make a point. As an Arunachalese, I could not have got a visa to China but I can go to Taiwan, he added. As China feels that Arunachal is part of its territory, Beijing does not grant visas to people from the state.
Last year, an IAS tour of Beijing was called off after an Arunachal officer was not given visa.
This time, the government has not reacted to the visit, though a note from the ministry could express the governments displeasure.
The BJP team had called on Hsieh and the leaders of the KMT and the Democratic Peoples Party in Taiwan. Rijiju said the two sides spoke of economic and cultural cooperation.
Hsieh was reportedly handpicked by President Chen Shui-bian in January to mend relations with China which wants to bring Taiwan into the mainland.