Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

Security Dilemma in South Asia

Academic journal article Journal of Political Studies

Security Dilemma in South Asia

Article excerpt


Security is the only concept through which the national security problem can be approached. Although it is one of main concerns of the contemporary world but due to its complexity and seamlessness the concept remained neglected. The notion of security is conceptually weak or undefined that needs the support of other approaches as Realism and Idealism. Security is a difficult concept as compare to other concepts of social sciences as power, justice, peace, equality and freedom due to its ambiguity. It has to be defined under an area of concern rather than a precise condition. The element of security has been defined by W.B. Gallia as an 'essentially contested concept' due to its relational attitude with other factors and un-rationality of meaning and application. "Security is a relational phenomenon. It involves not only the capabilities, desires and fears of individual states, but also the capabilities, desires and fears of the other state with which they interact." (Buzan & Rizvi, 1986, p.5) Therefore, we have to understand the whole system of international security patterns to relate the concept of security within the incumbent structure.

In International affairs the terms of power and peace belong to the classical established theories of Realism and Idealism. These two approaches dominate thinking about the national security concern. Barry Buzan relates both theories to the derived concept of security, he emphasizes "We shall argue that security is more usefully viewed as a companion to, rather than a derivative of power and that it is more usefully viewed as a prior condition of peace than a consequence of it." (Buzan, 1983, p. 2) He argues that only the Realists give the maximum conceptual framework of security as compare to other school of thoughts. He relates the concept of power to security. He never considers them synonyms but he argues that both concepts are equally shared and have mutual effect on each other. Explaining it he relates the World War I and II, and the game of power led to the emergence of security purposes that made the security subordinate to power. But he also emphasizes that security can be brought next to power in the broader perspective of security dilemma. The term of security dilemma is first coined by John Herz in 1950. He defines the security dilemma as "a problem encountered by humans in a social constellation," rather a biological trait. While Jervis (1978) defines the security dilemma as "the result of the two states' interaction in which the gain of one is the loss of the other leading to uncertainty between the two states". He only explains that the whole dilemma is built around perceptions and misperceptions among the states. The defense capabilities have perceived as a threat by the other state resulting in an anarchic environment and security dilemma. The security dilemma revolves around three basic assumptions; 1) an anarchic environment leads to uncertainty, 2) a lack of trust that exists among states, 3) a misperception of each other's motives or intentions.

While he explains according to Idealists that security is the prior condition of peace rather than its consequence. The Liberalists argue for peace through institutions. Therefore, it can be analyzed that security is the common element between the two established schools of thought, which are the basis of international Relations. Realists argue for power to attain security and Idealists aspire security for ultimate peace.

Theoretical Understanding behind India and Pakistan Rivalry

The Neo-realists approach is confined within the domain of power and material having a state-centric attitude. In the post-World War II scenario, the world indulged in the game of power and armaments in order to sustain the territorial sovereignty after decolonization. Here we can relate with the political scenario of the subcontinent and emergence of Pakistan out of Great India in 1947.

"According to the neo-realist perspective, the security situation between India and Pakistan is usually defined as volatile due to differentiation in material capabilities of the two states as well as the structure of the South Asian security which is greatly tilted in favour of India. …

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