Praxeology is a science of human action where we logically spin out all the laws of human action starting from an a priori axiom of human action which is apodictic in nature i.e., necessarily true. In this article I am going to use praxeology to understand and then deduce some of the possible outcomes of the on-going border tension between Indian and Chinese nation states. Couple of days ago on the Ladakh border front there was a violent clash between Indian and Chinese troops and now it has been revealed that total 20 Indian soldiers have died in this skirmish and many more Indian soldiers are likely POW (Prisoners of War) in Chinese prisons. Not only this, terrorist activities in Kashmir valley has significantly increased in recent months and daily one or two Indian soldiers and civilians are dying there. As if border tension with Pakistan and China was not enough even neighboring Nepal state is now becoming aggressive against India and recently their border police fired and killed one Indian villager and injured many who were trying to enter Nepal; Nepal parliament has now passed a bill amending their old map with a new one in which many Indian territories are now part of Nepali state! It looks like all these three nation states have come together against the Indian nation state and are ready to wage wars simultaneously against it because they feel worried about its actions that we will see below. These are all very delicately dangerous events which require a careful analysis. I do that below.
Using praxeology we can logically deduce consequences of human action. The first implication of the axiom of human action is that only individuals act and the second that this action is always purposeful i.e., it has a definite end in sight and various means are used to achieve that end. In the on-going border tension between Indian and Chinese – and Pakistani and Nepali – states we have to keep in mind the fact that nation states are nothing but a group of individuals coming together for a common purpose. These individuals are known as state officials. In modern times these state officials are individual politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats, technocrats and any other such person who is getting his livelihood from the state’s (legal) plunder. So in this analysis we have to logically deduce the consequences of the actions of these individual state officials i.e., mainly politicians who are the masters of the state under whom all other groups work. In India presently the main state official is Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and then second is his home minister Amit Shah. For China the same is the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) leader Xi Jingping and his important deputies. These handful of individuals’ actions will determine the fate of 2 billion plus Indian and Chinese people.
Historical understanding of the institution of the state tells us that state is a territorial monopolist which was formed by those people who wanted to live their lives parasitically using political means instead of using economic means. States are territorial monopolist and they keep captive slave citizen population inside their geographical boundaries to parasitically feed, e.g., taxation, on them. And because geographical area and its natural resources and people living in these boundaries are very important for the state officials, they constantly try to enlarge their geographical boundaries by gobbling up lands of neighboring people or other states. Nation states are inherently expansionist. Some are more than others but they all have this inherent tendency. And war is their primary mean for achieving this end. War thus is inevitable between two or more nation states. And this same thing we see happening between Indian and Chinese nation states too. Also, state officials continuously vie to stay in power as long as is possible for them because political power is the main driving purpose of their lives. In democratic states like India individual politicians belonging to different political parties have only one end dictating their whole lives: Getting elected and then getting reelected. Narendra Modi’s whole life is driven by this end only. After getting elected and reelected once he wants to stay in power forever and so wants to get reelected time and again. That is the goal of all BJP politicians, including home minister Amit Shah, too. The party as a whole wants to stay in power forever. The same is true for the authoritarian one party regime of China. CCP chief Xi Jingping is trying to stay in power as long as possible. And to stay in power these people can do anything. As history is evident, they will not hesitate to kill millions of people if that gives them power. With this background now we can see what is likely to happen between the Indian, Chinese, Pakistani and Nepali nation states. Let’s analyze Indian state officials’ actions first.
Since coming to power in 2014 the BJP/RSS Hindu nationalist government is showing lot of aggression on the border fronts. This is well expected because RSS has long dreamed of getting back the mythical Akhand Bharat (Undivided India) which they believe was broken, in the midterm, by the partition of 1947 of the Indian subcontinent into Indian and Pakistani nation states and, in the long historical term, by the invasion of Islamic armies beginning from around 1000 AD. All the RSS leaders like M S Golwalkar or V D Savarkar etc., harbored this dream. Narendra Modi was also RSS pracharak and BJP is the political arm of RSS so being its chief he is self declared Hindu nationalist who wants to fulfill this dream of Akhand Hindu Rashtra. This is the major promise that is behind his stellar back to back electoral victories. Nationalistic Hindu Indians, mainly from four or five big Hindu heartland states of UP, Bihar, MP, Rajashthan and Gujarat, are backing Narendra Modi, even after his disastrous economic policies, because he will again unite India and make it an Akhand Hindu Rashtra. These Indians also harbor this dream of Akhand Bharat as demonstrated by their actions of voting for Narendra Modi led BJP party. He has very deftly crafted an image of 56 inch chest strong leader for himself. He is the leader that will defeat all neighboring states and make India one united country under the banner of Hinduism. All his economic promises of development are secondary and just a cover for his main goal of making India an Akhand Hindu Rashtra. All his policies are in line with this goal e.g., the scrapping of article 370 and including autonomous J&K state as part of Indian dominion is nothing but a move to unite India. His move of NRC and CAA exercises are also in this direction of alienating and then if needed expelling Muslims from India. Before Covid-19 Pandemic intervened, Modi’s next move was to introduce a uniform civil code in India and that is also in line with the end of making India a Hindu Rashtra. That move will still come once Covid-19 Pandemic disappears. RSS’s idea of Akhand Bharat extends boundaries of present Indian state to historical boundaries of Afghanistan, Pakistan to Tibet and even to South Asian countries like Myanmar and Sri Lanka etc (see figure 1). RSS and Modi’s long term plan is to fulfill this dream and their actions of scrapping article 370 is a just one small step in this direction. This on-going border tension between Indian and Chinese states can now be clearly understood with this background of ends and means paradigm of Indian state officials.
We all know that the Chinese state occupied Tibet in 1950. Chinese state officials must be well aware of present Indian state officials’ dream of Akhand Bharat which includes Tibet also in their territory. The move of scrapping article 370 must have thus sent alarm bells in the Chinese leadership and so they immediately started to beef up their army in Ladakh region which is an entry point to Tibet for India. A Beijing based think tank has recently confirmed this cause of their concern. Chinese state is also alarmed because Indian state officials like home minister Amit Shah openly announced in parliament that his party will grab Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Aksai Chin too in future! Chinese state has invested billions of dollars in developing the beautiful areas of Gilgit-Baltistan, which are part of PoK, from where the historical Karakoram Highway passes (see figure 2) . This highway is China’s entry point to Asia. China has also significant investments in Afghanistan. And Aksai chin is the area from where the Indian army can directly enter Tibet. In no circumstances the Chinese nation state will allow Indian state to occupy these territories of Pok and Aksai Chin and so they have now started to contest Indian nation state in these areas. Looking at the actions of Indian state officials like Narendra Modi and Amit Shah the war is now highly likely.
Why war is highly likely? Because present Indian state officials like Modi and Shah are unlikely to easily give up their lifetime dream of uniting India under the banner of Hinduism because if they do then their well crafted images of strong leaders get into jeopardy and they will start losing elections for which they live and die. Hyper nationalistic Indian voting public will not allow any softening stance of this government. Already different groups in India have started demanding boycott of Chinese goods, which ironically will make war a certainty because, as Frederic Bastiat said, when goods will not cross borders, armies will! RSS and its political arm BJP also cannot go back on this promise of making India an Akhand Hindu Rashtra because doing so will likely remove them from power too. RSS officials constantly worry that now if they lose power then next incoming government will likely ban its activities like it happened twice in past. Losing power is an existential crisis for RSS officials. It is a matter of their livelihood. This means they will very likely keep on pushing for waging wars against neighbors and including their land into their Akhand Bharat.
The Chinese nation state officials cannot back down too as Xi will lose his face and might face ouster from CCP. He is already facing harsh criticism for his handling of Covid-19 Pandemic and the Hong Kong protest issues. He will want to solidify his position by giving a fitting reply to India’s adventures in border areas. The probability of Chinese nation state wanting to gobble up India, as most Indians believe, is very low. The way they are advancing economically and otherwise, they will very likely not want to risk any major conventional war and following devastation which will undo all their efforts of last 50 years. Chinese state is competing for world leadership with the superpowers like America and Russia. But it will surely defend its present boundaries. As I said, in no way it will allow Indian state to grab areas of PoK and Aksai Chin. This also means a war is highly likely.
Also, if China shows any softness in terms of pushing for Peace with India then the Indian state officials and public will likely see it as its weakness and they will get more aggressive in grabbing PoK and Aksai Chin to make the Akhand Bharat. So for the sake of argument even if Chinese state wants peace, the present Indian state officials and voting people backing them won’t let it have it.
Nepal has similar prospects. Nepali state officials also see India as a threat and so they will get aggressive to defend themselves or to get back lost territories like what they are doing now. As they see Indian nation state weakening economically from the inside they will take their chances of undoing, what they believe to be, a historical injustice by Indian nation state of gobbling up their territories.
In all circumstances war is highly likely now. This war will likely remain concentrated in border areas but if Pakistani state officials see chance of grabbing more Kashmiri areas then they will go for it once they see Indian state becoming internally weak or losing a war with China. Remember, since long even Pakistani state officials see a dream of grabbing Kashmir as their own. They long have hidden anguish against Indian state which partitioned Pakistani state into Bangladesh. They will like to take revenge of this past actions of India. If all these comes to fruition then Indian state is looking at multiple war fronts opening up simultaneously. It will be impossible for it to manage these many war fronts.
Different Possible Outcomes
Now I want to quickly take a look at different possible outcomes of the ongoing border tension that I have analyzed above.
Indian State Wins
First, let us think that Indian state somehow wins this war with China (and Pakistan and Nepal). What will happen then? Will they occupy Chinese, Pakistani and Nepali territories? Do they have the wherewithal to occupy it? Remember, winning a war can be easy but not occupying won areas. Will they free Tibet from Chinese hands and keep it for themselves? Is these all possible? Highly unlikely. The probability of all these things happening is almost zero. Even if Indian state wins the war with China, Pakistan and Nepal keeping all these lands will be next to impossible as Chinese, Pakistanis and Nepalese people will rebel against the Indian occupying forces. There will be guerilla warfare in all these areas. Indian state can hardly keep Kashmiri militancy under control. Controlling China is a pipe dream. If they keep Tibet for themselves then Tibetans will rebel too. And then there is international community, e.g., Russia, which will likely never allow such things to happen.
Indian State Loses
Second, if Indian nation state loses this war then it will very likely lose more territories to Chinese, Pakistani and Nepali states on the border areas. India will very likely disintegrate further also as the center becomes weaker and individual states will see a chance of becoming independent. If the war is a conventional one and not limited to border areas then the Indian nation state as an entity will very likely stop existing after the end of war. Even if Nuclear bombs are not involved, Chinese and Pakistani missiles and bombs will flatten most Indian cities. In the post war period it will be very difficult, almost impossible, for most of India to get back on its feet and be today’s India again. It will take if not centuries than many decades to do so. This is because India lacks the crucial base of human capital that is necessary for any post war reconstruction. Outside help will unlikely to come easily as the world itself is in big trouble right now. Western powers like USA is imploding from inside and is crushed under huge mountain of debt. They are already seeing civil war kind of situation. Any reliance on the help of America pre or post war is a delusion. If America enters this war then it will be a World War III which will devastate India and world in any case. After such devastation only few smaller areas like in Gujarat or Maharashtra will be able to recover sooner than later as they have the needed capital base.
The only solution of this tension: Peace
Amidst all these war drums it is still not late to press for Peace. War is nothing but death and destruction. What are Indians and Chinese and Pakistanis and Nepalese going to do when their countries will be devastated and they will end up having little bit of more land? Many of these state officials themselves will be dead in wars or will be facing war crimes in post war period. Even they won’t benefit much from any war as we can see with all past empires which collapsed fighting costly wars. India is a land of Peace messengers like Buddha and Gandhi. This is the land of nonviolence then why there is so much tendency for violence in Indians today? Is nation state bigger than lives of our fellow human begins? Is a piece of land higher in value than the lives of those 20 soldiers, and like them thousands and millions of others who died or will die fighting wars, who lost their lives in Ladakh few days back? Were they not sons of Mother India? Were their lives expendable? Is Mother India happy seeing blood drenched dead bodies of her 20 sons laying in her lap? The Indian epic of Mahabharata gives us the same message of importance of Peace. Just because of the wrong insistence of Duryodhana to not give even an inch of land to Pandavas they both fought the war of Mahabharata which killed both dynasties. Lord Krishna himself became messenger of Peace but even he was denied Peace by the king and his prince who were drunk high on power. If Indians do not learn any lessons from this epic of Mahabharata and do not give Peace a chance then it will be their big misfortune. They will repeat their own history. In their zeal to make Akhand Bharat, they will destroy the remaining India too. And it looks like that is their destiny. The same message goes to Pakistanis, Chinese and Nepalese too. Do they want to see their beloved countries destroyed in wars? What will Pakistanis do with Kashmir when there will be no one left to live in it? Indians, Chinese, Pakistanis and Nepali people should come together and stop their state officials from starting this devastating senseless war.
International community should come urgently forward and stop these Indian, Chinese, Pakistani and Nepali state officials from creating havoc in South Asia. If these skirmishes are not stopped and war is allowed to take place then everyone will pay a very heavy price. Peace is the only option for human flourishing. Let’s give Peace one chance. Give up your utopian dreams and be happy and content with whatever you all are already having. If not then stay prepared to lose everything.