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Business News/ Economy / Taiwan may get ISA toehold
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Taiwan may get ISA toehold

It’s not a full membership, but Taiwan’s inclusion reflects India’s rivalry with China to be voice of Global South

Power minister R.K. Singh speaks at a press conference during sixth session of the International Solar Alliance Assembly in New Delhi. (AP)Premium
Power minister R.K. Singh speaks at a press conference during sixth session of the International Solar Alliance Assembly in New Delhi. (AP)

NEW DELHI:Taiwan may get a “representation" in the International Solar Alliance (ISA), said two people aware of the development, a move that underscores sharpened rivalry between India and China.

Although Taiwan has sought membership of the alliance, ISA is unlikely to accord it full membership as it is not recognized by the United Nations.

The ISA is the first treaty-based international government organization headquartered in India, and it has been a key part of India’s foreign policy outreach to the developing world.

Among major economies, China and Russia are notable absentees in the list of ISA members and signatories.

The development gains significance as India has been trying to position itself as a renewable energy leader and voice of the developing world that China too has been wooing.

China claims Taiwan as part of its territory. Although most nations, including India, do not recognize Taiwan, New Delhi has pushed a policy of cautious engagement with the island-nation of 23 million people over the last few years.

“They (Taiwan) have approached for ISA membership. But as Taiwan is not recognized by the UN, they cannot be made a member of ISA. But we are looking at how they can be given some sort of representation in the alliance," said one of the two persons cited above.

ISA currently has 115 signatories, including 94 member countries. The alliance has expanded extensively since its creation in 2015 when it was conceived by India and France to mobilize the fight against climate change.

It was conceptualized on the sidelines of the landmark 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) held in Paris in 2015.

Taiwan’s representation in the ISA may also give a boost to India’s ‘One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG)’ initiative, under which several regional grids are to be created and interlinked for the transmission of renewable power across countries.

Power minister R.K. Singh, who is also the president of ISA, had recently said that as part of the OSOWOG initiative, India, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Singapore are in advanced stages of creating a mega grid infrastructure, which will enable the trade in renewable energy from South East Asia to Europe through West Asia.

India has already signed a memorandum of understanding with Saudi Arabia for grid interconnection and is working on similar bilateral power connectivity agreements with UAE and Singapore.

The likely representation of Taiwan in the ISA comes at a time when India and Taiwan have built up business and economic relations, even as New Delhi’s ties with Beijing have nosedived.

India has courted Taiwanese semiconductor firms and has allowed the expansion of its diplomatic presence in India. Further, New Delhi and Taipei are understood to be in talks for a migration and mobility agreement. The two sides also have an understated but beneficial security and defence relationship.

Bilateral economic consultation meetings between India and Taiwan are held annually and both the countries signed a bilateral investment agreement in 2018 to promote investment flow between the two sides. The ISA aims to mobilise $1 trillion of investments in solar energy solutions by 2030, while delivering energy access to 1 billion people using clean energy solutions and resulting in installation of 1,000 GW of solar energy capacity. This is expected to mitigate 1 billion tonnes of carbon emissions every year, according to the ISA website.

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Published: 01 Nov 2023, 12:12 AM IST
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