Xinjiang or the Xinjiang-Uyghur Autonomous Region is the autonomous region in the North Western Part of China which borders India’s Kashmir on its West. It is one of the most unstable parts of China and has caused many internal security problems in China. Uyghur Muslims, having secessionist tendencies, are over 10 million in numbers and want their separate nation state in Xinjiang free from any Chinese influence. The region has its own geostrategic importance and stability in the region is in India’s interests as well.
The Xinjiang region is the Chinese gateway to the Central Asian and Middle Eastern countries. The millennium old, trans-Karakoram silk route passes through the Xinjiang region. The revival of Silk route has its own economic implications for both India and China. Many gas pipelines connecting China and Russia as well as TAPI for India would be successful only if stability in the region is ensured. In today’s world, where internal security is the booster rocket of economic heft, stability in this region can act as a win win situation for both India and China.
The issue of Sakshgam valley (Aksai Chin) in the Northern sector of India is also a major irritant in Sino-Indian relations. Aksai Chin was a part of POK but was seceded to China by Pakistan after the Sino Indian war of 1962 as a token of respect and appreciation. As India does not entertain any Pakistani claim on POK, so this is deemed illegal by the Indian government. Also, the all weather relationship of China and Pakistan and the Chinese policy of Indian encirclement are being viewed with skepticism by the Indian policy pundits. This Sakshgam valley connects China to Pakistan from the North, hence encircling India.
So there is a task in hand for the new government in India to ensure stability in the region and secure the Indian borders from any kind of insurgency or terrorist activities. Any further turmoil in the region may further aggravate the pre existing volatile situation in the Northern Sector. There should be coherence of approach towards the region from the authorities of both the nations so that a holistic development of the region may be ensured whose fruits may be reaped by both the nations.