Air India’s decision consistent with worldwide norms, India’s position on Taiwan: MEA

Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping

Air India’s decision consistent with worldwide norms, India’s position on Taiwan: MEA

The foreign ministry justified its advice to Air India to change the name of Taiwan as being consistent with worldwide norms and Indian policy.

"Air India's decision to rename the destination of Taiwan as Chinese Taipei is entirely consistent with worldwide norms, and our own position on Taiwan since 1949", Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson for India's foreign ministry, said Thursday. China confirmed that it has approved Air India's decision to refer to Taiwan as "Chinese Taipei" which complies with Beijing's demand. The island nation of Taiwan governs itself democratically, but China considers it an integral part of its territory.

Global Times said, "That Air India lists Taiwan as a country goes against India's official stance".

Air India doesn't operate flights to Taiwan, but they have a code-sharing agreement with Air China that includes service to Taiwan. Taiwan lodged a protest with the airline and said that the move is a gesture of succumbing to "unreasonable and absurd pressure" from China. "It did not support the separatist movement in Assam province, and hence India should not support the demand for Taiwan independence", the report said. Lufthansa has listed the airport as "Taipei - Taoyuan International TPE Taiwan, China", while British Airways has "Taipei (TPE), Taiwan-China".

Air India is the flag carrier of India and is operated by state-owned Air India Ltd. However, the Modi government used to be proud of declaring that they had told off China on India's "one-China" policy, by saying they would support it only when China supported a "one-India" policy. The Taiwan question is a matter of China's domestic affairs.

The Indian ministries of external affairs as well as civil aviation were not immediately available for comment.

On 25 April, China's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) sent a letter to 36 foreign airlines, including Air India, pressuring them to stop referring to Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan as independent countries on their websites and marketing materials by 25 May.

"Respecting China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and obeying Chinese law is a basic principle that foreign companies need to follow in China", Lu added.

China and Taiwan - officially the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China, respectively - separated in 1949 following the Communist victory on the mainland after a civil war.

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