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'Terrorism weapon of choice for non-state actors, irresponsible states'

Terrorism weapon of choice for non-state actors, irresponsible states
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New Delhi: Terrorism has been employed as a weapon of choice by non-state actors and irresponsible states to advance their political objectives in the region, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said on Thursday in a thinly-veiled attack on Pakistan.

In an address at a Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) seminar on the role of women in the armed forces, Singh said the concept of security is undergoing a "paradigm shift" and the member states of the grouping will have to deal with challenges like terrorism collectively.

"The concept of security is undergoing a paradigm shift. The changing character of war is bringing threats from our borders to within our society and amongst the people. Terrorism is just the most obvious and diabolical manifestation of this reality," he said.

"It has been employed as a weapon of choice by non-state actors and irresponsible states alike for the furtherance of their political objectives," Singh said at the virtual event.

The defence minister said the SCO has rejected terrorism in all its manifestations, noting that women have been and will remain equal contributors in the fight against the menace.

"The SCO as an organisation has unequivocally rejected terrorism in all its manifestations and forms. The reality further reinforces the role of all citizens of the SCO in this fight against the common threat that is challenging us," he said.

"This fight cannot be won by half the population of our region or a country. Women have been and will remain equal contributors in this fight, both within the armed forces and beyond," he said.

In his speech, the defence minister also provided a brief overview of the role being played by women in the Indian armed forces.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that former prime minister Indira Gandhi not only led the country for a number of years, but she also did so during the times of war, in an apparent reference to her role in the 1971 war with Pakistan.

The defence minister also talked about Rani Laxmi Bai and former president Pratibha Patil, and said India has a positive experience in harnessing women's power in national development.

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