In a bold and visionary move, the Indian Army, with its 12-lakh strong force, is embarking on a journey that takes it back in time to unearth the timeless wisdom of India’s rich heritage in statecraft, strategy, diplomacy, and warfare. This transformative initiative, aptly named “Project Udbhav,” aims to delve into the profound Indic legacy of strategic thinking derived from ancient Indian texts, bridging the gap between history and contemporary military strategy.
The Army Training Command (ARTRAC), in collaboration with the United Service Institution of India (USI), recently initiated the first hybrid seminar under Project Udbhav. Titled “Evolution of Indian military systems, war-fighting, and strategic thought – current research in the field and way forward,” this seminar marks the beginning of a journey to explore and revitalize India’s age-old wisdom in the realm of statecraft and strategy.
While some have questioned the relevance of ancient Indian strategic concepts in the modern era of warfare, the Indian Army sees Project Udbhav as a significant endeavor to blend historical knowledge with contemporary military practices. The government’s directive to shed “vestiges of the colonial era” within the armed forces aligns with this effort to embrace India’s own historical narratives.
Project Udbhav has a broad spectrum of focus, encompassing indigenous military systems, historical texts, regional studies, thematic examinations, and in-depth studies of ancient thinkers like Kautilya. The overarching goal is to gain a deep understanding of indigenous military systems, their evolution over the ages, and the strategic thought processes that have shaped the Indian subcontinent for millennia.
However, Project Udbhav doesn’t stop at rediscovering these narratives; it also seeks to develop an indigenous strategic vocabulary rooted in India’s diverse philosophical and cultural tapestry. The aim is to integrate ancient wisdom into modern military pedagogy, offering a unique perspective on military strategy that draws from India’s historical heritage.
Since 2021, the Indian Army has been diligently working on compiling Indian stratagems based on ancient texts. A book listing 75 aphorisms selected from these texts has already been published. The discussions under Project Udbhav extend from studying texts dating back to the 4th century BC to the 8th century BC, with a particular focus on scholars like Kautilya, Kamandaka, and The Kural.
Chaired by the Principal Adviser in the Ministry of Defence, Lt-General Vinod G Khandare (retired), the recent seminar featured a keynote address by Lt-General Raju Baijal, the Army’s Director-General of Strategic Planning. This marks just the beginning of a series of engagements planned under Project Udbhav, culminating in the Indian Military Heritage Festival on October 21-22.
By reintroducing classical teachings into contemporary military and strategic domains, the Indian Army aims to equip its officers with the ability to apply ancient wisdom to modern scenarios. Moreover, this initiative promises to foster a deeper understanding of international relations and foreign cultures, ultimately paving the way for a more enlightened and strategically adept Indian military force.
Project Udbhav signifies a bold step towards not only reclaiming India’s age-old wisdom but also integrating it into the fabric of modern military strategy, positioning the Indian Army as a torchbearer of ancient knowledge in the battles of the future.