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Sanket Telang asked: About unrest in Tibet and Xinjiang and Implications for India

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  • Jagannath Panda replies: It is unwise to use the term “unrest” with regard to Tibet and the situation in Xinjiang. Both are different types of conflicts and could be termed probably as ethnic crisis-driven areas of China. The Tibet issue has special importance for Indian security as almost 120,000 Tibetan exiles live in India; and also because the Tibetan factor is inextricably linked with the Sino-Indian border dispute. At the same time, the Xinjiang issue also came to the fore when violence broke out between Uyghurs and Hans and the consequent crackdown on Uyghurs by the Chinese government. India of course is naturally more concerned about the situation in Tibet because of the large Tibetan exile community living in India and how their activities might evolve in the post-Dalai Lama period. As for Xinjiang, Indian worries centre on the connections between Uyghur militants and transnational jihadist groups. Above all, the most important implication for India is in terms of the geographical proximity of both Xinjiang and Tibet. Xinjiang borders Ladakh region of India. The eastern part of Ladakh became a disputed area between China and India in the wake of the Chinese occupation of Aksai Chin in 1962.