Taiwan is looking at using its “tea culture” as a new source of soft power diplomacy to boost cultural and people-to-people connect with India’s Northeastern region.
Taiwan’s representative to India, Ambassador Baushuan Ger, says Taiwan produces distinctive varieties of tea and the common tea culture between the two countries can act as a catalyst to deepen bilateral cultural ties.
Ger was speaking at an event titled ‘Chai pe Charcha with Taiwan’ which was attended by Taiwanese tea experts, diplomats, India entrepreneurs in the tea industry, academics and a group of students from Taiwan.
The initiative to enhance cultural ties between the two countries comes amid escalating tensions between Taiwan and China following US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s recent visit to the self-governing island.
Currently, a team of students and experts in tea processing from Taiwan’s National Chung Hsing University is visiting India.
The university, one of oldest and largest educational institutions in Taiwan, started the ‘Wisdom Tea Platform’ for promoting tea research and collaboration between industries and academics.
The platform organised a series of workshops and events promoting tea and developing tea-related products. It also provided courses for students and the general public to learn about tea culture in Taiwan.
It also trains tea masters for promoting tea art and helping industries improve their products.
Under the ‘Wisdom Tea’ initiative, Taiwan is now exploring ways to boost people-to-people connect with India. It has already established contact with Tea Board of India and Tocklai Tea Research Institute in Assam.
Taiwanese officials said the team from the National Chung Hsing University (NCHU) that is currently on a visit to India comprised two professors, four representatives from tea industries, two professional tea masters, and five postgraduate students.
They have visited Assam and Mizoram in the past two weeks and will travel to Meghalaya after the short visit to Delhi.
“The significance of this team is that five students from Taiwan will conduct an internship in tea estates in India,” said a Taiwanese official.
“This is the first time in history Taiwanese students learning tea processing in India, and first time Taiwanese tea experts working in India since the introduction of Assam tea to Taiwan a century ago,” he said.
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