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My visit to Taiwan was in 1964 to participate in an agricultural research conference when Chiang Kai-shek was the President. We were interested in introducing the Dee-gee-woo-gen dwarf rice genes, originally from China into India, but because of the then strained diplomatic relations between the two countries, we couldn’t approach China directly. Taiwan had already sourced the Taichung 81, Taichung 65, Tainan seeds from China. When I told C Subramaniam, who was the then Indian Agriculture Minister, that Taiwan had these varieties, he said I should go to Taiwan and obtain the seeds. I was successful in bringing a good quantity of these varieties to the CRRI and IARI. Dr GV Chalam, who was the Head of the National Seeds Corporation, multiplied them very fast.

I did not meet Chiang Kai-shek, but his deputy and other senior officials of the government were very cordial. Though India did not have diplomatic relationship with Taiwan officially, there was a lot of respect for Indian visitors, particularly scientists. I remember that it was in Taiwan that it was the first time I tried Chinese cuisine.