Underlining the threat posed by bio-terrorism, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said new technologies in the battlefield are throwing up new challenges for the armed forces, and mentioned that the medical services of the armed forces are uniquely placed to tackle some of them. I would like to underline the importance of building capabilities to deal with the menace of bio-terrorism. Bio-terrorism is a real threat today,” Singh said. “It breaks out as a contagious plague and the armed forces and its medical services have to be at the forefront of combating this menace.”
  1. Speaking at the first conference of military medicine of the member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Group (SCO), Singh said the “ever advancing battle field technology has imposed a vast array of previously unrecognised challenges”.
  2. He said, “Newer and non-conventional formats of warfare have further added to the complexity of existing challenges.”
  3. The SCO is a Eurasian socio-political, economic and security alliance, and Singh called it the “alliance of the East” because of its “growing centrality in Asia-Pacific.
  4. India joined the SCO as a full member in June 2017. The ongoing SCO’s theme is on Combat Medical Support, Humanitarian Assistance & Patient Safety.
  5. Representatives of other SCO members such as China and Russia were present. However, even though an invite was sent to Pakistan, Defence Ministry said that it did not respond or send participants.
  6. Regarding bio-terrorism, “(The) gravity of this kind of terror threat has been recognised and the scientific programme includes articles and discussions on these topics and on managing any probable mass casualty situations.”
  1. Bioterrorism is a planned and deliberate use of pathogenic strains of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, or their toxins to spread life-threatening diseases on a mass scale in order to devastate the population of an area.
  2. People have described the next hundred years as the “century of biology.” Incredibly rapid and profound changes in genetic modifications in bio-molecular engineering and enhanced bio-production technologies, however, may make it easier for terrorists to overcome the barriers that inhibited acquisition of biological weapons in the past.
  3. Historically, biological weapons have been a threat to humans for many centuries