Class 12 Political Science Chapter 7 Security in the Contemporary World NCERT Notes

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Chapter 7 Security in the Contemporary World Class 12 Political Science NCERT Notes provide a thorough summary of the main points of each chapter, as well as key vocabulary and concepts. It help students to understand the exam pattern and prepare accordingly.

The students can use these Security in the Class 12 Political Science Chapter 7 Security in the Contemporary World Notes for their preparation for board examinations. They also ensure that students are able to revise the concepts regularly and retain them for a longer period of time.

Chapter 7 Security in the Contemporary World Contemporary World Politics Class 12 Political Science CBSE NCERT Notes


In a democracy, it is important for citizens to have a clear understanding of what these terms mean and how they impact their lives.

Security can be defined in different ways, depending on the context or situation. For example, personal security may refer to protection from crime or violence, while national security may refer to protection from external threats such as terrorism or invasion.

India has several security concerns, including territorial disputes with neighbouring countries, terrorism, and cybersecurity threats.

This chapter introduces two different ways of looking at security and highlights the importance of different contexts or situations which determine our view of security.

What is Security?

Basically, security implies freedom from threats, but not every single threat counts as a security threat. Only those things that threaten ‘core values’ should be regarded as being of interest in discussions of security.

The definition of core values may differ depending on whose values are being considered (government or ordinary citizens). The intensity of threats to core values is also a factor in determining what is considered a security threat.

Societies may have different conceptions of security, and these can be classified as traditional and non-traditional.

Traditional Notions: External

The greatest danger to a country is from military threats. The root of this danger is the other country which by threatening military action endangers the core values of sovereignty and independence.

There are three choices with the government in response to the threat of war. These choices are to surrender, to prevent the other side from attack and to defend itself during the war and four components of traditional security i.e. deterrence, defence, balance of power and alliance building.

Deterrence means prevention of war; defence means limiting or ending war; balance of power means there should be balance between bigger and smaller countries and alliance building means coalition of states.

A good part of maintaining a balance of power is to build up one’s military power that coordinate their actions to deter or defend against military attack.

According to the traditional view of security, most threats to a country’s security come from outside its borders.

Within a country, the threat of violence is regulated by an acknowledged central authority i.e. the government.

But in world politics, each country has to be responsible for its own security.

Traditional Notions: Internal

Traditional security must concern itself with internal security which has not been given so much importance due to various reasons.

After the Second World War, internal security was more or less assured to the powerful countries on the Earth.

Most of the European countries faced no serious threats from groups or communities living within those borders. Hence these countries gave importance to external security.

The main concern for the external security was the era of Cold War. Both the superpowers were afraid of attacks from each other.

The colonies which became independent were under fear of conversion of Cold War into a Hot War.

Newly-independent countries in Asia and Africa faced different security challenges from Europe. They faced the prospect of military conflict with neighbouring countries and had to worry about internal military conflict as well.

Threats from neighbours were more pressing than threats from the US, Soviet Union, or former colonial powers. Quarrels over borders, territories, or control of people and populations were common.

Separatist movements posed internal threats to newly-independent countries.

Sometimes external and internal threats merged, as neighbours helped or instigated separatist movements. Internal wars make up more than 95% of all armed conflicts fought anywhere in the world.

Between 1946 and 1991, there was a twelve-fold rise in the number of civil wars, the greatest jump in 200 years. External wars with neighbours and internal wars posed serious security challenges for the new states.

Traditional Security and Cooperation

It is universally accepted that war can takes place for the right reasons, primarily self-defence or to protect other people from genocide.

Traditional views of security also gives importance to other forms of cooperation like disarmament, arms control and confidence building.

Disarmament requires all states to give up certain kinds of weapons.

Arms control regulates acquisition or development of weapons ABM Treaty (1972) limited the use of ballistic missiles as defensive shield against nuclear attack SALT II and START were other arms control treaties signed by US and Soviet Union. NPT (1968) regulated acquisition of nuclear weapons.

NPT allowed countries that tested and manufactured nuclear weapons before 1967 to keep them. NPT limited the number of countries that could have nuclear weapons.

Traditional security also accepts confidence building as a means of avoiding violence. confidence
building is a process designed to ensure that rivals do not go to war through misunderstanding or misperception.

War should only be fought for the right reasons such as self-defense or to protect people from genocide. Force must be used only as a last resort, after all alternatives have failed.

Non-Traditional Notions

Non-traditional security includes a wider range of threats and dangers beyond military threats. It questions the traditional referent of security, which in traditional security is the state with its territory and governing institutions.

In non-traditional security, the referent is expanded to include individuals, communities, and all of humankind.

Non-traditional security is also referred to as “human security” or “global security”.

Human security

Human security is primarily concerned with protecting individuals rather than states, although secure states can lead to secure individuals.

Protecting citizens from foreign attacks is important but not sufficient for ensuring individual security as more people have been killed by their own governments than by foreign armies in the last century.

Proponents of the narrow concept of human security focus on protecting individuals from violent threats while proponents of the ‘broad’ concept of human security argue that the threat agenda should include hunger, disease and natural disasters because these kill far more people than war, genocide and terrorism combined.

The broadest formulation of human security includes threats to human dignity and emphasizes both freedom from want and freedom from fear.

Global Security

Global security emerged in the 1990s due to the global nature of threats such as global warming, international terrorism, and health epidemics like AIDS and bird flu.

No country can solve these problems alone, and in some situations, one country may have to disproportionately bear the brunt of a global problem.

For example, due to global warming, a sea level rise of 1.5-2.0 meters would flood 20 percent of Bangladesh, inundate most of the Maldives, and threaten nearly half the population of Thailand.

International cooperation is vital to address these global threats, even though it is difficult to achieve.

New Source of Threats

Some new sources of threats have emerged about which the world is concerned to a large extent. These includes terrorism, human rights, global poverty, migration and health epidemics.


Terrorism refers to political violence that targets civilians deliberately and indiscriminately. International terrorism involves the citizens or territory of more than one country.

Classic cases of terrorism involve hijacking planes or planting bombs in trains, cafes, markets, and other crowded places.

After the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in America, terrorism has become a more prominent issue for governments and the public, though terrorism itself is not a new phenomenon.

In the past, most terrorist attacks have occurred in the Middle East, Europe, Latin America, and South Asia.

Human rights

Human rights are classified into three types: political rights, economic and social rights, and rights of colonized people or ethnic and indigenous minorities. There is no agreement on which set of rights should be considered universal human rights.

The international community faces the challenge of deciding what to do when human rights are being violated.

Since the 1990s, developments such as Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the genocide in Rwanda, and the Indonesian military’s killing of people in East Timor have led to a debate on whether or not the UN should intervene to stop human rights abuses.

Some argue that the UN Charter empowers the international community to take up arms in defence of human rights, while others argue that the national interests of powerful states will determine which instances of human rights violations the UN will act upon.

Global poverty

Global poverty is another source of insecurity. World population now at 760 crore will grow to nearly 1000 crore by the middle of the 21st century.

Half of the world’s population growth occurs in just six countries, including India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, and Indonesia.

Many of the world’s poorest countries will see their population triple in the next 50 years, while many rich countries will experience population shrinkage.

The global disparity contributes to the gap between the Northern and Southern countries of the world. Within the South, disparities have also sharpened, as a few countries have managed to slow down population growth and raise incomes while others have failed to do so.


Poverty in the South has led to migration to seek better economic opportunities in the North, causing political frictions.

International law and norms distinguish between migrants and refugees. States are supposed to accept refugees, but not migrants.

Internally displaced people are those who have fled their homes but remain within national borders.

The Kashmiri Pandits who fled violence in the Kashmir Valley in the early 1990s are an example of an internally displaced community.

Wars and armed conflicts in the South generate millions of refugees seeking safe haven.

The world refugee map tallies almost perfectly with the world conflicts map because wars and armed conflicts in the South have generated millions of refugees seeking safe haven. From 1990 to 1995, 70 states were involved in 93 wars which killed about 55 lakh people.

Health epidemics

Health epidemics like HIV-AIDS, bird flu, and SARS have spread across countries through migration, business, tourism and military operations.

By 2003, an estimated 4 crore people were infected with HIV-AIDS worldwide, two-thirds of them in Africa and half of the rest in South Asia.

Health epidemics like HIV-AIDS, bird flu, SARS, and drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis, malaria, dengue fever, and cholera have rapidly spread across countries through migration, tourism, business, and military operations.

The success or failure of one country in limiting the spread of diseases affects other countries.

Epidemics among animals have major economic effects, such as the mad-cow disease outbreak in Britain and the bird flu outbreak in Asia.

The expansion of the concept of security does not mean including any kind of disease or distress in its ambit.

To qualify as a security problem, an issue must share a minimum common criterion of threatening the existence of the referent, such as a state or group of people, although the precise nature of the threat may differ.

The Maldives may feel threatened by global warming, while countries in Southern Africa face a serious threat from HIV-AIDS.

Non-traditional conceptions of security, like traditional conceptions, vary according to local contexts.

Cooperative Security

Many non-traditional threats to security require cooperation rather than military confrontation.

Military help can be taken to deal with terrorism but it will be of no use in dealing with issues like poverty, migration and so on.

It becomes important to devise strategies that involve international cooperation which can be bilateral, regional, continental or global.

Cooperative security may involve a variety of players, including international organizations, NGOs, businesses and corporations, and great personalities.

Cooperative security may involve the use of force as a last resort, sanctioned and applied collectively by the international community rather than by an individual country.

India’s Security Strategy

Indian’s security strategy depends upon four broad components Strengthening the military capabilities is the first component of India’s security strategy because India has been involved in conflicts with its neighbours.

The second component of India’s security strategy has been to strengthen international norms and international institutions to protect its security interests.

The third important component of India’s security strategy is geared towards meeting security challenges within the country.

The fourth component is to develop its economy in a way that the vast mass of citizens are lifted out of poverty and misery.

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