Project Udbhav : Army project to rediscover ‘Indic heritage of statecraft’ from ancient texts, develop ‘indigenous strategic vocabulary’

Project Udbhav : The Army is working on a project called Udbhav. This project is about combining old knowledge with new ways of teaching soldiers. They want to focus on our own military systems, old books and stories from different places, and special studies about themes and a person named Kautilya.

The Indian Army has launched a program called Project Udbhav to explore the rich traditional knowledge of statecraft and strategic thinking found in ancient Indian texts about politics, war, diplomacy, and grand strategy. They are working together with a defense think-tank called the United Service Institution of India (USI) on this initiative.

As part of this effort, the USI will organize a Military Heritage Festival on October 21 and 22. The purpose of this festival is to introduce future leaders to various aspects of national security, with a special focus on India’s strategic traditions, military history, education, modernization of security forces, and the concept of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” (self-reliant India). This information comes from a statement issued by the Army.

Connecting Past and Present

The project aims to uncover India’s wealth of historical stories related to politics and strategic thinking. It covers a wide range of topics, such as our own military practices, old texts, stories from different regions and kingdoms, specialized studies on specific themes, and in-depth research on Kautilya’s teachings.

As part of this effort, a panel discussion took place on September 29. During this discussion, experts talked about how Indian military practices, the art of warfare, and strategic thinking have evolved over time. They discussed current research in this field and also explored future directions for this project

This initiative demonstrates the Army’s acknowledgment of India’s ancient wisdom in areas like politics, strategy, diplomacy, and war tactics. Project Udbhav aims to connect the past with the present. Its objective is to delve deep into our own military traditions, trace their development over time, explore the strategies that have been handed down through generations, and understand the way strategic thinking has shaped the country for thousands of years.

Indigenous Vocabulary

Project Udbhav’s goal goes beyond rediscovering these historical narratives. It also aims to create a unique strategic language that is deeply rooted in India’s rich philosophical and cultural heritage. The overall objective is to blend ancient wisdom with modern military education.

Since 2021, a study has been in progress to compile Indian military strategies based on ancient texts. A book has been published in 2022, titled “Paramparik Bhartiya Darshan…Ranniti aur Netriyta ke Shashwat Niyam,” which is intended for all ranks of the Indian Army. In English, it translates to “Traditional Indian Philosophy…Eternal Rules of Warfare and Leadership,” as stated by the Army.

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During the panel discussion on September 29, experts talked about studying ancient texts from the 4th century BCE to the 8th century CE, with a focus on figures like Kautilya, Kamandaka, and the Kural. By reintroducing these classical teachings into modern military and strategic fields, the Army aims to train its officers to apply ancient wisdom in contemporary situations. Additionally, it hopes to gain a deeper understanding of international relations and foreign cultures through this effort, as mentioned in the statement.

Project Udbhav will proceed with a series of activities, including the Indian Military Heritage Festival set for October 21-22. The Army’s main objective is to empower its officers with the skills to use ancient wisdom in today’s situations, and in doing so, promote a better comprehension of international relations and foreign cultures.

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