Terming bio-terrorism as a “contagious plague,” Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday said that it was a real threat the world was facing today and asked the armed forces to be in the forefront of combating the menace.
Inaugurating the first-ever conference of Shanghai Co-operation Organisation (SCO) countries on Military Medicine here, he also called upon the Armed Forces Medical Services (AFMS) of SCO countries to devise ways to effectively deal with new threats posed to soldiers by the ever-advancing battle field technology.
“The threat of nuclear, chemical and biological warfare adds to the complexity of the existing challenges and AFMS plays a vital role in identifying those challenges, defining the limits of human tolerance and suggesting strategies to mitigate the adverse health effects,” he said.
Underlining the importance of building capabilities to deal with the menace of bio-terrorism, he termed it as a real threat the world is facing today.
“The bio-terrorism is a ‘contagious plague’. The armed forces should be at the forefront of combating the menace,” he said.
He asked the AFMS to have a clear, effective and rehearsed protocol with respect to casualty management strategies and said the protocols and strategies need to be devised taking into account not just the peculiarities of the operating environment and the nature of operations, but also competence and capabilities of AFMS.
Suggesting co-operation among countries during disasters to ensure that timely assistance reaches those in need even across international borders, he said the scale of magnitude of destruction following disasters can often overwhelm the resources and relief efforts of a nation and the medical services of Armed Forces form a vital component of humanitarian aid and disaster relief operations.
Identifying “Patient Safety” as another area which needs to be further strengthened, Singh stressed on the need for awareness on healthy practices of patient safety that will greatly enhance the combat effectiveness of military services.
“Patient safety does not end at making correct diagnosis and prescribing correct medication. Dispensing that prescribed medicine to the correct patient via the correct method plays a crucial role in ensuring the safety of patients,” he said.
The Defence Minister said SCO is the “alliance of the East”, due to its growing centrality in Asia-Pacific and described it as the primary security pillar in the region.
“SCO is the largest regional organisation in the world in terms of geographical coverage and population. It covers 22 per cent of the land mass, 40 per cent population and contribute to 20 per cent of world’s GDP,” he said.
Singh said India has been making positive contribution to SCO and actively participated in Ex Peace Mission in Russia.
Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa said, evolving technology translates into more and more complex casualties and therefore, it is imperative that AFMS keeps pace with technology and expertise.