Terror being used as weapon by non-state actors: Rajnath


New Delhi, Oct 14: Terrorism is being used as a weapon by “non-state actors and irresponsible states”, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday and added that the "SCO rejects terrorism in all its manifestation".
Speaking at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) webinar on 'Role of Women in Armed Forces', the Defence Minister also talked about the historic relationship shared by the SCO countries.
"The concept of security is undergoing a paradigm shift. Changing character of war is bringing threats from our borders to within our society. Terrorism is just the most obvious and diabolical manifestation of this reality. It has been employed as a weapon of choice by non-state actors and irresponsible states alike for furtherance of their political objectives," Singh said.
"SCO as an organistaion has uneqivocally rejected terrorism in all its manifestations," he said.
The SCO currently comprises eight Member States China, India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Pakistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, besides four Observer States interested in acceding full membership Afghanistan, Belarus, Iran, and Mongolia and six "Dialogue Partners" Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cambodia, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Turkey.
The comments come in the backdrop of Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, and India's vocal concerns over the situation along the borders with both China and Pakistan. India has also accused Pakistan of indulging in a "proxy war" with India through terrorism.
The Minister said the fight against terror required participation of all citizens of the SCO countries.
"The reality further reinforces the role of all citizens SCO in the fight against this common threat that challenges us in equal measure. It cannot be won by just half of the population of these countries, women will remain equal contributors in this fight within the armed forces and beyond them," said the Minister.
Talking about the role of women in the armed forces, the Minister said India's ancient literature is full of arguments in favour of feminism.
"If there was ever a need to argue in favour of feminism our ancient literature is replete with examples that reinforce this very state of equality. Saraswati is our goddess of knowledge, Durga remains associated with protection, strength and war. As I speak we are celebrating VijayaDashami, the day Goddess Durga defeated and killed Mahishasur, the demon. This tradition of women as both caregivers and protectors has continued over centuries," he said. The Minister also remembered former prime minister Indira Gandhi and former president PratibhaPatil for their leadership.
"Our former PM Indira Gandhi not only led the country for a number of years, she also did so in the time of war. More recently SmtPratibhaPatil was the President of India and Supreme Commander of Indian Armed Forces," he said. Speaking at the event, Chief of Defence Staff General BipinRawat said women have always had a significant role in wars.
"In human history, women soldiers have been part of most campaigns, performing a variety of tasks and ensuring timely and adequate logistic support to the soldier. Many of them were also deployed along the frontline," General Rawat said.
"Women are serving in the armed forces of all countries. US has the highest representation with almost 14 per cent women soldiers, many have participated in the Gulf war, Iraq and Afghanistan. European nations too have a fair number of women soldiers. China integrated women in the military nearly 50 years ago. In South Asia, the pioneer of integration of women both as officers and soldiers was Sri lanka, in 1984, followed by India, in the officers rank in 1991, and women soldiers in 2019," he said.
"Recently the government of India in conformity with policies on gender equality have allowed admission of women in the premier institute National Defence Academy which was so far open to only male aspirants," the CDS added. The Defence Minister also talked about the decision of allowing women in the National Defence Academy and said a number of steps have been taken to ensure gender equality in the forces.

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