Under its new foreign policy adopted last year, Taiwan hopes to share its expertise with India in areas like smart cities and clean energy, a senior official has said. “We have our Asian Silicon Valley development project which is the Internet of Things,” Connie Hui-Chan Chang, Director General of Taiwan’s Department of Overall Planning in the National Development Council, said in response to a question by IANS during an interaction with a group of visiting journalists here. “We hope to use our strengths in ICT in other sectors like smart cities (with India). Clean energy goes without saying,” she said. “Your country and mine are going in the same direction.” The Asian Silicon Valley project is a major part of Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen’s economic reforms aimed at infusing new life into Taiwan’s economy.
According to its new foreign policy, dubbed the New Southbound Policy, the self-ruled east Asian island nation is striving to broaden exchanges and cooperation with India and five South Asian nations, the 10 member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and Australia and New Zealand in areas such as commerce, culture and technology. This will mean lesser dependence on mainland China for Taiwan’s economic development. Taiwan is the world’s 22nd-largest economy and was dubbed one of the four Asian tigers in the late 20th century, the others being Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea.
According to Chang, the new policy aims at talent exchange, trade and economic cooperation, sharing of resources and regional cooperation. “We want more Asian students to come and study in Taiwan and work here and we have scholarships to offer,” she said. “In terms of sharing resources, we can send over medical teams to elevate standards in other countries,” she stated, adding that tourism was another area for sharing resources. Chang said that cultural exchange was a very important factor in the New Southbound Policy.
She also stressed on Taiwan’s strengths in agricultural technology. Though Taiwan was primarily an agriculture-based economy, it later diversified into heavy industries and then to high technology. In terms of regional cooperation, she said that “we look to sign more bilateral pacts”. “We believe that innovation will be the most important thing in the years to come,” Chang said. “We want innovators. We encourage R&D of our existing manufacturing industries and services industries,” she stated. “Investments (in other countries) and structural reforms are our targets in the coming years.”