Xinjiang in Central Asia’s Regional Security Structure

Published date01 January 2015
Date01 January 2015
Subject MatterArticles
Xinjiang in Central Asia’s
Regional Security
Mahesh Ranjan Debata1
The emergence of five Central Asian Republics (CARs) following Soviet collapse in
1991 created a new geopolitical situation, with the USA, Russia and the People’s
Republic of China (PRC) emerging as key players. China has become one of
the strongest forces to take advantage of this new opportunity, be it trade,
energy, or to safeguard its volatile Xinjiang region that shares border with three
CARs: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. Further, inimical forces such as
terrorism, religious extremism, transnational drug trafficking, smuggling of arms
and ecological disaster have dealt a body blow to regional peace and stability,
thereby creating a shattered security zone in and around Central Asia. Given
this backdrop, this article argues that security issues, which have so far been
important, are going to pose serious challenge in the coming years. It describes
Xinjiang as the main geopolitical anchor in Central Asia’s security structure with
all its potential for a possible conflagration in the region.
Xinjiang, Central Asia, Security, Uyghur, China
The emergence of five independent republics in Central Asia following the Soviet
collapse not only created a new geopolitical and geostrategic situation, but also
heralded in insurmountable challenges. The high potential of hydrocarbon
reserves of Central Asia made the region cynosure of all eyes. Many external
actors, especially the USA, Russia and China, emerged as key players in the
International Studies
52(1–4) 53–65
2017 Jawaharlal Nehru University
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/0020881717721756
1 Director, UGC Area Studies Programme, Centre for Inner Asian Studies, School of International
Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India.
Corresponding author:
Mahesh Ranjan Debata, Warden Flat No. 3, Narmada Hostel, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New
Delhi – 110067, India.

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