India defended Air India’s move to change the name of Taiwan to Chinese Taipei on its website. The national carrier on Thursday updated its website which further prompted the protest from Taiwan.
However, an Air India spokesperson said that it followed the procedure as advised by the Ministry of External Affairs in updating the airline’s website with respect to changing name of Taiwan.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said, “Air India’s decision to rename the destination of Taiwan as Chinese Taipei is entirely consistent with international norms and our own position on Taiwan since 1949.”
MEA statement came in India’s defence following the protest by Taiwan on Air India’s decision.
In a statement, the Taipei Economic and Cultural Center here (TECC) said it is deeply disappointed with Air India’s decision and “regrets” that the move can be seen as a gesture of succumbing to the “unreasonable and absurd pressure” from China. It said the matter has been taken up with the MEA.
TECC further said its Representative Ambassador Chung Kwang Tien calls upon Air India to stand up against the “unreasonable demand” from China and promptly restore the name of “Taiwan” on its official website.
It said Tien hoped the Indian government would provide firm support to its public services and private businesses to defend themselves from a foreign country’s “bully actions”. The TECC said it has lodged a formal note against the name change to the MEA and is currently waiting for the official response.
However, Beijing welcomed the decision by Air India, asserting that foreign companies operating in the country must obey China’s law and respect its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Air India operates flights to two destinations in China – Shanghai and Hong Kong. Responding to Air India’s decision, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Beijing welcomes the move.
“Our position on this issue is quite clear. The Indian side and other countries must be clear about our position on this issue,” Lu said.
(With agency inputs)