Air India to change the name of
Taiwan as being consistent with international norms and Indian policy. Since Wednesday, Air India has started listing Taiwan as ‘Taipei, Taoyuan International Airport, TPE,
Chinese Taipei‘ on its website.
Taiwanese media slammed India’s decision, describing it as “kowtowing” to Beijing. The only airlines which have not followed China’s diktat are American Airlines, Delta, United Airlines, Asiana Airlines, Korean Air, and Vietnam Airlines.
Questioned, MEA spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, “The decision of Air India is consistent with international norms and our own position on Taiwan since 1949”. However, the Modi government has in the past said it would support Beijing’s “One China” policy only when China supports a “One India” policy. Wednesday’s decision comes as the government has gone the extra mile to make nice with China in the past few months, raising questions about whether India had compromised its traditional positions.
Taiwan’s Economic and Cultural Centre in India (TECC) responded with a sharply worded statement registering its “disappointment” and said it “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.” TECC representative, Chung Kwang Tien, asked Air India to stand up against the unreasonable demand.
Taiwan has even sent a formal letter of protest to MEA and in its statement said, it “hopes the Indian government can provide firm support to its public services and private businesses to defend themselves from a foreign country’s bully actions.” “It is afraid that if such politically motivated bully actions are let prevail, people’s freedom in doing business and in their expression of opinion may be undermined; therefore, free and democratic nations should work together to protect their common values and interests,” Tien said in his statement.
On April 25, the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) asked 34 airlines to describe Taiwan as part of China on their websites. Air India operates a code-share flight to Taiwan with Air China. The CAAC said the airlines must comply with their demand before June 24, or face punitive action from the “relevant cyber-security authorities.”
The US had rubbished China’s instructions, with the White House saying “this is Orwellian nonsense and part of a growing trend by the Chinese Communist Party to impose its political views on American citizens and private companies.” American airlines continue to call it Taiwan.