Taiwan on Thursday protested Air India’s decision to change its name to Chinese Taipei on the website of the national carrier, even as India defended the move saying it is consistent with international norms and its position on the island.
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.
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.”
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 website. It said he 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 had lodged a formal note against the name change with the MEA and is waiting for its official response.
Earlier, an Air India spokesperson said it followed the procedure as advised by the MEA in updating its website with respect to changing the name of Taiwan.
Responding to Air India’s decision, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said Beijing welcomes the move.