In official quarters in Beijing and New Delhi, the Tibet issue figures only as a bargaining chip to 'regulate' their bilateral relations, not as an issue that has an independent bearing on the intractability or resolution of the Sino-Indian border dispute. Scholars of the Sino-Indian border dispute either dismiss the relevance of the Tibet issue or treat it as only a prop in their framing of the dispute in terms of security, nationalism and great power rivalry. This article argues that the Tibet issue is more central to the border dispute than official and scholarly circles have recognised so far. The article demonstrates this through an examination of the historical roots of the border row, the centrality of Tibet and Tibetans in the boundary claims of both Beijing and New Delhi and the revelation of concurrent historical developments in the border dispute and the Sino-Tibetan conflict. On the place of Tibet in broader Sino-Indian relations, the article posits that while Tibet was a victim of India's moralistic-idealist policies toward China in the 1950s, it has now become a victim of the new realism pervading India's policy of engaging and emulating China in the post-Cold War era
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