NCERT Textbook - Security in the Contemporary World Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

Political Science Class 12

Created by: Uk Tiwary

Humanities/Arts : NCERT Textbook - Security in the Contemporary World Humanities/Arts Notes | EduRev

 Page 1


OVERVIEW
In reading about world politics, we
frequently encounter the terms
‘security’ or ‘national security’.  Do
we know what these terms mean?
Often, they are used to stop debate
and discussion. We hear that an
issue is a security issue and that
it is vital for the well-being of the
country. The implication is that it
is too important or secret to be
debated and discussed openly.
We see movies in which everything
surrounding ‘national security’ is
shadowy and dangerous.  Security
seems to be something that is not
the business of the ordinary
citizen. In a democracy, surely this
cannot be the case. As citizens of
a democracy, we need to know
more about the term security.
What exactly is it?  And what are
India’s security concerns? This
chapter debates these questions.
It introduces two different ways of
looking at security and highlights
the importance of keeping in mind
different contexts or situations
which determine our view of
security.
Chapter 7
Security in the
Contemporary World
The concern about human security was reflected in the 1994
UNDP’s Human Development Report, which contends, “the
concept of security has for too long been   interpreted
narrowly… It has been more related to nation states than
people… Forgotten were the legitimate concerns of ordinary
people who sought security in their daily lives.” The images
above show various forms of security threats.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 2


OVERVIEW
In reading about world politics, we
frequently encounter the terms
‘security’ or ‘national security’.  Do
we know what these terms mean?
Often, they are used to stop debate
and discussion. We hear that an
issue is a security issue and that
it is vital for the well-being of the
country. The implication is that it
is too important or secret to be
debated and discussed openly.
We see movies in which everything
surrounding ‘national security’ is
shadowy and dangerous.  Security
seems to be something that is not
the business of the ordinary
citizen. In a democracy, surely this
cannot be the case. As citizens of
a democracy, we need to know
more about the term security.
What exactly is it?  And what are
India’s security concerns? This
chapter debates these questions.
It introduces two different ways of
looking at security and highlights
the importance of keeping in mind
different contexts or situations
which determine our view of
security.
Chapter 7
Security in the
Contemporary World
The concern about human security was reflected in the 1994
UNDP’s Human Development Report, which contends, “the
concept of security has for too long been   interpreted
narrowly… It has been more related to nation states than
people… Forgotten were the legitimate concerns of ordinary
people who sought security in their daily lives.” The images
above show various forms of security threats.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Contemporary World Politics
100
WHAT IS SECURITY?
At its most basic, security implies
freedom from threats. Human
existence and the life of a country
are full of threats.  Does that mean
that every single threat counts as
a security threat? Every time a
person steps out of his or her
house, there is some degree of
threat to their existence and way
of life. Our world would be
saturated with security issues if
we took such a broad view of what
is threatening.
Those who study security,
therefore, generally say that only
those things that threaten ‘core
values’ should be regarded as being
of interest in discussions of
security. Whose core values
though? The core values of the
country as a whole? The core
values of ordinary women and men
in the street?  Do governments, on
behalf of citizens, always have the
same notion of core values as the
ordinary citizen?
Furthermore, when we speak
of threats to core values, how
intense should the threats be?
Surely there are big and small
threats to virtually every value we
hold dear.  Can all those threats
be brought into the understanding
of security? Every time another
country does something or fails to
do something, this may damage
the core values of one’s country.
Every time a person is robbed in
the streets, the security of
ordinary people as they live their
daily lives is harmed. Yet, we
would be paralysed if we took such
an extensive view of security:
everywhere we looked, the world
would be full of dangers.
So we are brought to a
conclusion:  security relates only
to extremely dangerous threats—
threats that could so endanger
core values that those values
would be damaged beyond repair
if we did not do something to deal
with the situation.
Having said that, we must
admit that security remains a
slippery idea.  For instance, have
societies always had the same
conception of security?  It would
be surprising if they did because
Who decides about
my security? Some
leaders and experts?
Can’t I decide what
is my security?
Taming Peace
Have you heard of ‘peacekeeping force’? Do you think this is
paradoxical term?
© Ares, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 3


OVERVIEW
In reading about world politics, we
frequently encounter the terms
‘security’ or ‘national security’.  Do
we know what these terms mean?
Often, they are used to stop debate
and discussion. We hear that an
issue is a security issue and that
it is vital for the well-being of the
country. The implication is that it
is too important or secret to be
debated and discussed openly.
We see movies in which everything
surrounding ‘national security’ is
shadowy and dangerous.  Security
seems to be something that is not
the business of the ordinary
citizen. In a democracy, surely this
cannot be the case. As citizens of
a democracy, we need to know
more about the term security.
What exactly is it?  And what are
India’s security concerns? This
chapter debates these questions.
It introduces two different ways of
looking at security and highlights
the importance of keeping in mind
different contexts or situations
which determine our view of
security.
Chapter 7
Security in the
Contemporary World
The concern about human security was reflected in the 1994
UNDP’s Human Development Report, which contends, “the
concept of security has for too long been   interpreted
narrowly… It has been more related to nation states than
people… Forgotten were the legitimate concerns of ordinary
people who sought security in their daily lives.” The images
above show various forms of security threats.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Contemporary World Politics
100
WHAT IS SECURITY?
At its most basic, security implies
freedom from threats. Human
existence and the life of a country
are full of threats.  Does that mean
that every single threat counts as
a security threat? Every time a
person steps out of his or her
house, there is some degree of
threat to their existence and way
of life. Our world would be
saturated with security issues if
we took such a broad view of what
is threatening.
Those who study security,
therefore, generally say that only
those things that threaten ‘core
values’ should be regarded as being
of interest in discussions of
security. Whose core values
though? The core values of the
country as a whole? The core
values of ordinary women and men
in the street?  Do governments, on
behalf of citizens, always have the
same notion of core values as the
ordinary citizen?
Furthermore, when we speak
of threats to core values, how
intense should the threats be?
Surely there are big and small
threats to virtually every value we
hold dear.  Can all those threats
be brought into the understanding
of security? Every time another
country does something or fails to
do something, this may damage
the core values of one’s country.
Every time a person is robbed in
the streets, the security of
ordinary people as they live their
daily lives is harmed. Yet, we
would be paralysed if we took such
an extensive view of security:
everywhere we looked, the world
would be full of dangers.
So we are brought to a
conclusion:  security relates only
to extremely dangerous threats—
threats that could so endanger
core values that those values
would be damaged beyond repair
if we did not do something to deal
with the situation.
Having said that, we must
admit that security remains a
slippery idea.  For instance, have
societies always had the same
conception of security?  It would
be surprising if they did because
Who decides about
my security? Some
leaders and experts?
Can’t I decide what
is my security?
Taming Peace
Have you heard of ‘peacekeeping force’? Do you think this is
paradoxical term?
© Ares, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Security in the Contemporary World
101
so many things change in the
world around us.  And, at any
given time in world history, do all
societies have the same conception
of security? Again, it would be
amazing if six hundred and fifty
crore people, organised in nearly
200 countries, had the same
conception of security! Let us begin
by putting the various notions of
security under two groups:
traditional and non-traditional
conceptions of security.
TRADITIONAL NOTIONS:
EXTERNAL
Most of the time, when we read
and hear about security we are
talking about traditional, national
security conceptions of security.
In the traditional conception of
security, the greatest danger to a
country is from military threats.
The source of this danger is
another country which by
threatening military action
endangers the core values of
sovereignty, independence and
territorial integrity.  Military action
also endangers the lives of
ordinary citizens. It is unlikely that
in a war only soldiers will be hurt
or killed. Quite often, ordinary
men and women are made targets
of war, to break their support of
the war.
In responding to the threat of
war, a government has three basic
choices:  to surrender; to prevent
the other side from attacking by
promising to raise the costs of war
to an unacceptable level; and to
defend itself when war actually
breaks out so as to deny the
attacking country its objectives
and to turn back or defeat the
attacking forces altogether.
Governments may choose to
surrender when actually confronted
by war, but they will not advertise
this as the policy of the country.
Therefore, security policy is
concerned with preventing war,
which is called deterrence, and
with limiting or ending war, which
is called defence.
Traditional security policy has
a third component called balance
of power. When countries look
around them, they see that some
countries are bigger and stronger.
This is a clue to who might be a
threat in the future.  For instance,
a neighbouring country may not
say it is preparing for attack.
There may be no obvious reason
for attack. But the fact that this
country is very powerful is a sign
War is all about
insecurity, destruction
and deaths. How
can a war make
anyone secure?
Economy of war
© Ares, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 4


OVERVIEW
In reading about world politics, we
frequently encounter the terms
‘security’ or ‘national security’.  Do
we know what these terms mean?
Often, they are used to stop debate
and discussion. We hear that an
issue is a security issue and that
it is vital for the well-being of the
country. The implication is that it
is too important or secret to be
debated and discussed openly.
We see movies in which everything
surrounding ‘national security’ is
shadowy and dangerous.  Security
seems to be something that is not
the business of the ordinary
citizen. In a democracy, surely this
cannot be the case. As citizens of
a democracy, we need to know
more about the term security.
What exactly is it?  And what are
India’s security concerns? This
chapter debates these questions.
It introduces two different ways of
looking at security and highlights
the importance of keeping in mind
different contexts or situations
which determine our view of
security.
Chapter 7
Security in the
Contemporary World
The concern about human security was reflected in the 1994
UNDP’s Human Development Report, which contends, “the
concept of security has for too long been   interpreted
narrowly… It has been more related to nation states than
people… Forgotten were the legitimate concerns of ordinary
people who sought security in their daily lives.” The images
above show various forms of security threats.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Contemporary World Politics
100
WHAT IS SECURITY?
At its most basic, security implies
freedom from threats. Human
existence and the life of a country
are full of threats.  Does that mean
that every single threat counts as
a security threat? Every time a
person steps out of his or her
house, there is some degree of
threat to their existence and way
of life. Our world would be
saturated with security issues if
we took such a broad view of what
is threatening.
Those who study security,
therefore, generally say that only
those things that threaten ‘core
values’ should be regarded as being
of interest in discussions of
security. Whose core values
though? The core values of the
country as a whole? The core
values of ordinary women and men
in the street?  Do governments, on
behalf of citizens, always have the
same notion of core values as the
ordinary citizen?
Furthermore, when we speak
of threats to core values, how
intense should the threats be?
Surely there are big and small
threats to virtually every value we
hold dear.  Can all those threats
be brought into the understanding
of security? Every time another
country does something or fails to
do something, this may damage
the core values of one’s country.
Every time a person is robbed in
the streets, the security of
ordinary people as they live their
daily lives is harmed. Yet, we
would be paralysed if we took such
an extensive view of security:
everywhere we looked, the world
would be full of dangers.
So we are brought to a
conclusion:  security relates only
to extremely dangerous threats—
threats that could so endanger
core values that those values
would be damaged beyond repair
if we did not do something to deal
with the situation.
Having said that, we must
admit that security remains a
slippery idea.  For instance, have
societies always had the same
conception of security?  It would
be surprising if they did because
Who decides about
my security? Some
leaders and experts?
Can’t I decide what
is my security?
Taming Peace
Have you heard of ‘peacekeeping force’? Do you think this is
paradoxical term?
© Ares, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Security in the Contemporary World
101
so many things change in the
world around us.  And, at any
given time in world history, do all
societies have the same conception
of security? Again, it would be
amazing if six hundred and fifty
crore people, organised in nearly
200 countries, had the same
conception of security! Let us begin
by putting the various notions of
security under two groups:
traditional and non-traditional
conceptions of security.
TRADITIONAL NOTIONS:
EXTERNAL
Most of the time, when we read
and hear about security we are
talking about traditional, national
security conceptions of security.
In the traditional conception of
security, the greatest danger to a
country is from military threats.
The source of this danger is
another country which by
threatening military action
endangers the core values of
sovereignty, independence and
territorial integrity.  Military action
also endangers the lives of
ordinary citizens. It is unlikely that
in a war only soldiers will be hurt
or killed. Quite often, ordinary
men and women are made targets
of war, to break their support of
the war.
In responding to the threat of
war, a government has three basic
choices:  to surrender; to prevent
the other side from attacking by
promising to raise the costs of war
to an unacceptable level; and to
defend itself when war actually
breaks out so as to deny the
attacking country its objectives
and to turn back or defeat the
attacking forces altogether.
Governments may choose to
surrender when actually confronted
by war, but they will not advertise
this as the policy of the country.
Therefore, security policy is
concerned with preventing war,
which is called deterrence, and
with limiting or ending war, which
is called defence.
Traditional security policy has
a third component called balance
of power. When countries look
around them, they see that some
countries are bigger and stronger.
This is a clue to who might be a
threat in the future.  For instance,
a neighbouring country may not
say it is preparing for attack.
There may be no obvious reason
for attack. But the fact that this
country is very powerful is a sign
War is all about
insecurity, destruction
and deaths. How
can a war make
anyone secure?
Economy of war
© Ares, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Contemporary World Politics
102
that at some point in the future it
may choose to be aggressive.
Governments are, therefore, very
sensitive to the balance of power
between their country and other
countries.  They do work hard to
maintain a favourable balance of
power with other countries,
especially those close by, those
with whom they have differences,
or with those they have had
conflicts in the past.  A good part
of maintaining a balance of power
is to build up one’s military power,
although economic and techno-
logical power are also important
since they are the basis for
military power.
A fourth and related
component of traditional security
policy is alliance building. An
alliance is a coalition of states
that coordinate their actions to
deter or defend against military
attack. Most alliances are
formalised in written treaties and
are based on a fairly clear
identification of who constitutes
the threat. Countries form
alliances to increase their
effective power relative to another
country or alliance. Alliances are
based on national interests and
can change when national
interests change. For example,
the US backed the Islamic
militants in Afghanistan against
the Soviet Union in the 1980s,
but later attacked them when Al
Qaeda—a group of Islamic
militants led by Osama bin
Laden—launched terrorist
strikes against America on 11
September 2001.
In the traditional view of
security, then, most threats to a
country’s security come from
outside its borders. That is
because the international system
is a rather brutal arena in which
there is no central authority
capable of controlling behaviour.
Within a country, the threat of
violence is regulated by an
acknowledged central authority —
the government.  In world politics,
there is no acknowledged central
authority that stands above
everyone else.  It is tempting to
think that the United Nations is
such an authority or could become
such an institution.  However, as
presently constituted, the UN is a
creature of its members and has
authority only to the extent that
the membership allows it to have
authority and obeys it.  So, in
world politics, each country has to
be responsible for its own security.
How do the big powers react when new countries claim nuclear
status? On what basis can we say that some countries can be
trusted with nuclear weapons while others can’t be?
© Christo Komarnitski, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Page 5


OVERVIEW
In reading about world politics, we
frequently encounter the terms
‘security’ or ‘national security’.  Do
we know what these terms mean?
Often, they are used to stop debate
and discussion. We hear that an
issue is a security issue and that
it is vital for the well-being of the
country. The implication is that it
is too important or secret to be
debated and discussed openly.
We see movies in which everything
surrounding ‘national security’ is
shadowy and dangerous.  Security
seems to be something that is not
the business of the ordinary
citizen. In a democracy, surely this
cannot be the case. As citizens of
a democracy, we need to know
more about the term security.
What exactly is it?  And what are
India’s security concerns? This
chapter debates these questions.
It introduces two different ways of
looking at security and highlights
the importance of keeping in mind
different contexts or situations
which determine our view of
security.
Chapter 7
Security in the
Contemporary World
The concern about human security was reflected in the 1994
UNDP’s Human Development Report, which contends, “the
concept of security has for too long been   interpreted
narrowly… It has been more related to nation states than
people… Forgotten were the legitimate concerns of ordinary
people who sought security in their daily lives.” The images
above show various forms of security threats.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Contemporary World Politics
100
WHAT IS SECURITY?
At its most basic, security implies
freedom from threats. Human
existence and the life of a country
are full of threats.  Does that mean
that every single threat counts as
a security threat? Every time a
person steps out of his or her
house, there is some degree of
threat to their existence and way
of life. Our world would be
saturated with security issues if
we took such a broad view of what
is threatening.
Those who study security,
therefore, generally say that only
those things that threaten ‘core
values’ should be regarded as being
of interest in discussions of
security. Whose core values
though? The core values of the
country as a whole? The core
values of ordinary women and men
in the street?  Do governments, on
behalf of citizens, always have the
same notion of core values as the
ordinary citizen?
Furthermore, when we speak
of threats to core values, how
intense should the threats be?
Surely there are big and small
threats to virtually every value we
hold dear.  Can all those threats
be brought into the understanding
of security? Every time another
country does something or fails to
do something, this may damage
the core values of one’s country.
Every time a person is robbed in
the streets, the security of
ordinary people as they live their
daily lives is harmed. Yet, we
would be paralysed if we took such
an extensive view of security:
everywhere we looked, the world
would be full of dangers.
So we are brought to a
conclusion:  security relates only
to extremely dangerous threats—
threats that could so endanger
core values that those values
would be damaged beyond repair
if we did not do something to deal
with the situation.
Having said that, we must
admit that security remains a
slippery idea.  For instance, have
societies always had the same
conception of security?  It would
be surprising if they did because
Who decides about
my security? Some
leaders and experts?
Can’t I decide what
is my security?
Taming Peace
Have you heard of ‘peacekeeping force’? Do you think this is
paradoxical term?
© Ares, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Security in the Contemporary World
101
so many things change in the
world around us.  And, at any
given time in world history, do all
societies have the same conception
of security? Again, it would be
amazing if six hundred and fifty
crore people, organised in nearly
200 countries, had the same
conception of security! Let us begin
by putting the various notions of
security under two groups:
traditional and non-traditional
conceptions of security.
TRADITIONAL NOTIONS:
EXTERNAL
Most of the time, when we read
and hear about security we are
talking about traditional, national
security conceptions of security.
In the traditional conception of
security, the greatest danger to a
country is from military threats.
The source of this danger is
another country which by
threatening military action
endangers the core values of
sovereignty, independence and
territorial integrity.  Military action
also endangers the lives of
ordinary citizens. It is unlikely that
in a war only soldiers will be hurt
or killed. Quite often, ordinary
men and women are made targets
of war, to break their support of
the war.
In responding to the threat of
war, a government has three basic
choices:  to surrender; to prevent
the other side from attacking by
promising to raise the costs of war
to an unacceptable level; and to
defend itself when war actually
breaks out so as to deny the
attacking country its objectives
and to turn back or defeat the
attacking forces altogether.
Governments may choose to
surrender when actually confronted
by war, but they will not advertise
this as the policy of the country.
Therefore, security policy is
concerned with preventing war,
which is called deterrence, and
with limiting or ending war, which
is called defence.
Traditional security policy has
a third component called balance
of power. When countries look
around them, they see that some
countries are bigger and stronger.
This is a clue to who might be a
threat in the future.  For instance,
a neighbouring country may not
say it is preparing for attack.
There may be no obvious reason
for attack. But the fact that this
country is very powerful is a sign
War is all about
insecurity, destruction
and deaths. How
can a war make
anyone secure?
Economy of war
© Ares, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Contemporary World Politics
102
that at some point in the future it
may choose to be aggressive.
Governments are, therefore, very
sensitive to the balance of power
between their country and other
countries.  They do work hard to
maintain a favourable balance of
power with other countries,
especially those close by, those
with whom they have differences,
or with those they have had
conflicts in the past.  A good part
of maintaining a balance of power
is to build up one’s military power,
although economic and techno-
logical power are also important
since they are the basis for
military power.
A fourth and related
component of traditional security
policy is alliance building. An
alliance is a coalition of states
that coordinate their actions to
deter or defend against military
attack. Most alliances are
formalised in written treaties and
are based on a fairly clear
identification of who constitutes
the threat. Countries form
alliances to increase their
effective power relative to another
country or alliance. Alliances are
based on national interests and
can change when national
interests change. For example,
the US backed the Islamic
militants in Afghanistan against
the Soviet Union in the 1980s,
but later attacked them when Al
Qaeda—a group of Islamic
militants led by Osama bin
Laden—launched terrorist
strikes against America on 11
September 2001.
In the traditional view of
security, then, most threats to a
country’s security come from
outside its borders. That is
because the international system
is a rather brutal arena in which
there is no central authority
capable of controlling behaviour.
Within a country, the threat of
violence is regulated by an
acknowledged central authority —
the government.  In world politics,
there is no acknowledged central
authority that stands above
everyone else.  It is tempting to
think that the United Nations is
such an authority or could become
such an institution.  However, as
presently constituted, the UN is a
creature of its members and has
authority only to the extent that
the membership allows it to have
authority and obeys it.  So, in
world politics, each country has to
be responsible for its own security.
How do the big powers react when new countries claim nuclear
status? On what basis can we say that some countries can be
trusted with nuclear weapons while others can’t be?
© Christo Komarnitski, Cagle Cartoons Inc.
© NCERT
not to be republished
Security in the Contemporary World
103
TRADITIONAL NOTIONS:
INTERNAL
By now you will have asked
yourself:  doesn’t security depend
on internal peace and order?  How
can a society be secure if there is
violence or the threat of violence
inside its borders?  And how can
it prepare to face violence from
outside its borders if it is not
secure inside its borders?
Traditional security must also,
therefore, concern itself with
internal security.  The reason it is
not given so much importance is
that after the Second World War
it seemed that, for the most
powerful countries on earth,
internal security was more or less
assured.  We said earlier that it is
important to pay attention to
contexts and situations.  While
internal security was certainly
a part of the concerns of
governments historically, after the
Second World War there was a
context and situation in which
internal security did not seem to
matter as much as it had in the
past.  After 1945, the US and the
Soviet Union appeared to be
united and could expect peace
within their borders.  Most of the
European countries, particularly
the powerful Western European
countries, faced no serious threats
from groups or communities living
within those borders. Therefore,
these countries focused primarily
on threats from outside their
borders.
What were the external threats
facing these powerful countries?
Again, we draw attention to
contexts and situations.  We know
that the period after the Second
World War was the Cold War in
which the US-led W estern alliance
faced the Soviet-led Communist
alliance. Above all, the two
alliances feared a military attack
from each other.  Some European
powers, in addition, continued to
worry about violence in their
colonies, from colonised people
who wanted independence. We
have only to remember the French
fighting in Vietnam in the 1950s
or the British fighting in Kenya in
the 1950s and the early 1960s.
As the colonies became free
from the late 1940s onwards, their
security concerns were often
similar to that of the European
powers. Some of the newly-
independent countries, like the
European powers, became
members of the Cold W ar alliances.
They, therefore, had to worry about
the Cold War becoming a hot war
and dragging them into hostilities
— against neighbours who might
have joined the other side in the
Cold W ar, against the leaders of the
alliances (the United States or
Soviet Union), or against any of the
other partners of the US and Soviet
Union.  The Cold War between the
two superpowers was responsible
for approximately one-third of all
wars in the post-Second World
War period. Most of these wars
were fought in the Third World.
Just as the European colonial
powers feared violence in the
colonies, some colonial people
feared, after independence, that
they might be attacked by their
Browse through a
week’s newspaper
and list all the
external and
internal conflicts
that are taking
place around the
globe.
© NCERT
not to be republished
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