errorism 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 Vijaya Dashami, 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 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.