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India’s top civilian honour to Taiwanese business leader seen as message to China

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(, Jan28’24) In what is seen as a message to China, India has awarded its third highest civilian honour, the Padma Bhushan, to Taiwan’s Liu Young-way, the Chief Executive Officer of Foxconn. The move will send a very strong message to the Communist Party of China, said a news report Jan 26.

Another recipient, albeit posthumously, is Togdan Rinpoche (1938 – May 24, 2023) of Ladakh, who an report said Jan 16 was an ally of Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. The Dalai Lama is despised by China, which calls him a separatist, even though he only seeks regional autonomy for his Tibetan homeland.

Togdan Rinpoche, the spiritual and political leader from Ladakh, belonged to the Drikung Kagyu order of Kagyupa, was awarded the Padma Bhushan posthumously. (Photo courtesy: TRN)

The 66-year-old Liu will receive the accolade in a ceremony later this year, with the presentation to be made by the President of India. The announcement of the 132 recipients across various Padma categories was made on the eve of India’s Republic Day of Jan 26.

In a message to Beijing, India for the first time conferred one of its highest civilian awards upon a person from Taiwan on Thursday (Jan 25) said the Jan 26.

The recognition comes at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been trying to attract foreign investors and portray India as Asia’s next manufacturing hub amid efforts by the US and its allies to move supply chains away from China.

Foxconn, the world’s biggest maker of electronic components, said recently that it planned to build a chip packaging and testing plant in India with HCL Group, a local tech firm.

In November, Foxconn – a leading supplier for American tech titan Apple – announced investments in India worth US$1.6 billion to diversify away from China.

The report noted that in 2019, the company initiated the production of Apple’s iPhone XR at its manufacturing facility in India. Building on this milestone, by 2023, the same facility had expanded its capabilities to include the manufacturing of the latest iPhone model, the iPhone 14.

Meanwhile, New Delhi has encouraged the island’s top semiconductor firm, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), to establish a fabrication plant in India, the report noted.

In a sign of deepening unofficial ties, trade between India and Taiwan surged from just over US$1 billion in 2001 to US$7 billion in 2021, the report said.

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Another Padma Bhushan awardee in Togdan Rinpoche. He had served as the Head Lama for Ladakh for all Tibetan Buddhist lineage, is the most senior Lama of the Drikung Kagyu Yogi lineage, and one of the most senior Lamas in Nyingma tradition, according to his official website.

The award is seen as a recognition of the Drikung Kagyu sect by the Centre; Togdan Rinpoche was also instrumental in preserving the Bhoti (Tibetan) language, the report cited officials as saying.


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