Is collective security a solution to violent conflicts?

This article has been written by Eashwari Nair. Eashwari is currently a student in Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad.


As the rate at which violence escalates in the valleys of northern side of India via attacks such as in Uri, Nagrota etc calls for the need of implementation of law.  This bloodshed seems to be from one perspective the resultant  of the breakdown of  the machinery of law and order along with the emergence of an “unofficial war” .

Does there exist scope to revive some sort of sense in maintaining peace and order? Fortunately, it does.  Although the scope of the topic we will be dealing with seems to be up till now tending towards the theoretical side of the line of implementation and is highly broad in nature to discuss, few instances in history do support the success of the principle. What is this principle i repeatedly dearest reader emphasise on? This theory usually tends to fall under the ambit of the field of International Law, this theory in discussion is known as Collective Security which is based on the doctrine to protect.


Before we briefly dive into the finer details of the what collective security is, we must understand is to why this principle is called into the question of implementation? This universal theory can be applied in an area of conflict to ideally resolve ( best case scenario) but at least control the rate at which violence occurs or to reduce the actions performed in further pursuance  of causing violence.

Now to  the real question i.e  what is collective security?   The textbook definition would read as  The cooperation of several countries in an alliance to strengthen the security of each[1].  The following set of words will add to your understanding i.e

  1. A broad concept linked to Conflict prevention
  2. With the ultimate aim of Peace Enforcement
  3. In order to achieve the above the attempt to practice crises management is seen.

The Requirements of Collective Security[2]

The usage of this concept demands certain parameters to be filled  as follows:-

  1. The establishment of an institutional system[3]:-
    There must be a certain institutional framework that must be created in order to begin the operation of this principle.
  2. The Nature of power[4]
    The agents that are allotted responsibility in order of the functioning of this principle must be given power in such a manner that is balanced in nature, which will cease to exist since in every organisation it is seen that some special power of authority is seen to be vested in a few, for example the presence of the P-5 members.
  3. The acceptance of indivisibility of Peace[5]
    It must be slowly coded into the system that one nation’s threat to security must be seen as the threat to security which is compromised with respect to the international community as a whole. The vested international interests must hold a higher precedence over national interests with respect to the maintenance of peace .

Now the next thing in line to understand is dearest reader is does this principle hold a certain binding force upon the nations that exist? It is known for a fact that every nation will first cater to it’s needs before considering the other nations as such and hence if this principle had no mention anywhere the attempt to practice it would not have even come to play , but the fact that there have been attempts as seen  in history means that there exists some sort of documentation or codification of this theory which is briefly dealt in the following section.


The members of the United  Nations are  generally supposed to[6] follow the rules and regulations set in the form of the codified version of rules and regulations put forth in the UN charter. Now with respect to our topic of discussion , chapter 7 of the UN charter, to be specific begins with article 39 that is, to quote “Threats to peace and breaches of peace and acts of aggression”.

  1. Why the codification of such a principle?
    The violations such as the ones currently  taking place between India and Pakistan occurred in other forms across the world and the resultant that was the loss of lives across the world were numerous in number. But 3 major events played a significant role in the codification of this concept , they were as follows:-

    1. Response that was generated against the Korean Agression[7]
    2. Uniting for Peace Resolution [8]
    3. The Emergence of the UN Peace keeping.
  2. The Actors[9] involved:-
    Responsibilities were given to certain entities to perform their functions in order to maintain the standard formula of “INTERNATIONAL PEACE”. These actors or agencies trusted with such responsibilities to do so are regional bodies ,third parties are assigned to mediate and negotiate and come to terms,  the UN general council and more importantly the UN security council.


And hence dearest reader can collective security extinguish wars as such?   Probably not completely but the side effects such as tensioned relations, casualties etc can definitely be reduced. Utilising the current concept which is in existence or the devising new methods as well must be encouraged in order to attempt to reduce the intensity of conflict. This principle though seen to be a principle which is supported with a just about average success rate, in today’s age and era where everything is changing at an exponential rate, the scope of its success has increased.


The introduction dearest reader , to this very concept does just doesn’t call out for a solution but opens up scope for a branch of law with respect to the scope of the armed forces, military actions and so much more.

[1] Google definition of collective security

[2] The reason this principle hasn’t come into play practically speaking is because at every stage, none of the given criteria is satisfied.

[3] The reason of failure 1:- although established framework, it has no external force of binding to a high degree which compels the nation to stick to the international guideline.

[4] The reason of failure 2:- The amount of power given will never be fair and square, based on various reasons there will be imbalance of power of authority that exists.

[5] The reason of failure 3:-  No country no matter the amount of generosity displayed shall put it’s national interests as a secondary objective with respect to international interests at hand.

[6] The P-5 nations generally tend to deviate from the prescribed structure of the obligation to follow the defined ruls.

[7] Where North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, that lead the council to undertake military enforcement.

[8] Forces were deployed to maintain tranquillity in previously warring factions, example the creation of UNEF, to onitor ceasefire violations between Israel and Egypt.

[9] Refering to implementators.

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