Taiwan apologises for controversial remarks on Indian workers

Taiwan labour minister's comments suggested that candidates from northeast India were preferred due to similarities in “skin colour,” dietary habits, and religion

Taiwan and India recently signed a MoU aimed at facilitating the recruitment of Indian workers to meet the growing demand (representative image) (photo: National Herald archives)
Taiwan and India recently signed a MoU aimed at facilitating the recruitment of Indian workers to meet the growing demand (representative image) (photo: National Herald archives)
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After remarks from Taiwan's labour minister about recruiting Indian workers from the northeastern states sparked controversy, the Taiwan foreign ministry issued an apology, as per media reports.

As per The Wire, the minister's comments, suggested that candidates from the northeast India were preferred due to similarities in “skin colour,” dietary habits, and religion.

Hsu Ming-chun, Taiwan’s minister of labour, made the remarks during an interview on YouTube regarding a recently signed labour mobility agreement with India, the report added.

As per Deccan Herald, she said that Taipei had plans to recruit migrant workers from the northeastern region of India, not only because "their skin colour and eating habits were similar to Taiwanese," but also due to their beliefs in Christianity and their skills in manufacturing, construction, and agriculture".

While the interview was published on 1 March, the controversial remarks gained attention on social media platforms over the weekend, prompting widespread criticism.

In response to the comment, Taiwan's foreign ministry issued a statement on Monday, 4 March expressing "sincere apologies" for remarks deemed inappropriate. The government pledged to review its actions and make improvements, as per The Wire.

There has been no official reaction from India’s Ministry of External Affairs, till now.

The controversy comes amid efforts by Taiwan to address its labor shortages by expanding its workforce beyond Southeast Asia.

Taiwan and India recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) aimed at facilitating the recruitment of Indian workers to meet the growing demand in various sectors, including manufacturing, construction, and agriculture, reports The Wire.

However, the controversy underscores the complexities of bilateral relations between Taiwan and India, as well as the broader geopolitical dynamics in the region. While India follows a One-China policy, it maintains unofficial relations with Taiwan, contributing to a delicate diplomatic balance.

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