The Indian Army in collaboration with the United Service Institution of India (USI), concluded a hybrid-panel discussion on 4th Oct 2023 under Project Udbhav on the topic “Evolution of Indian Military Systems, War fighting and Strategic Thought- Current Research in the Field and Way Forward”.
Project Udbhav is an initiative set in motion by the Indian Army to rediscover the profound Indic heritage of statecraft and strategic thoughts derived from ancient Indian texts of statecraft, warcraft, diplomacy and grand strategy. The project endeavours to explore India’s rich historical narratives in the realms of statecraft and strategic thoughts. It focuses on a broad spectrum including Indigenous Military Systems, Historical Texts, Regional Texts and Kingdoms, Thematic Studies, and intricate Kautilya Studies.
This pioneering initiative stands testimony to the Indian Army’s recognition of India’s age-old wisdom in statecraft, strategy, diplomacy, and warfare. At its core, Project Udbhav seeks to bridge the historical and the contemporary. The goal is to understand the profound depths of indigenous military systems, their evolution, strategies that have been passed down through the ages, and the strategic thought processes that have governed the land for millennia.
Aim of Project Udbhav is not limited to just rediscovering these narratives but also to also develop an indigenous strategic vocabulary, which is deeply rooted in India’s multifaceted philosophical and cultural tapestry. Overall aim is to integrate age-old wisdom with modern military pedagogy.
Since 2021, under the aegis of the Indian Army, there has been a project in progress on the compilation of Indian stratagems based on ancient texts. A book has been released under this project which lists 75 aphorisms selected from ancient texts. However, the first scholarly outcome of the initiative is the 2022 publication titled “Paramparik Bhartiya Darshan… Ranniti aur Netriyta ke Shashwat Niyam” meant to be read by all ranks of the Indian Army. English translation of the title being “Traditional Indian Philosophy…Eternal Rules of Warfare and Leadership”.
The panel discussion conducted today is an ambitious step to revitalize the knowledge creation from India’s rich classical heritage. The scope of the discussion encompassed discussion on the study of ancient texts from the 4th century BCE to the 8th century CE, with a focus on Kautilya, Kamandaka, and The Kural. The discussion has been able to achieve the intended outcome which was to spark interest, engagement, and further research into India’s traditional strategic thought. The Keynote Address was delivered by Lieutenant General Raju Baijal,Director General Strategic Planning.
The discussion was chaired by Lieutenant General Vinod G Khandare (Retired), Principal Adviser, Ministry of Defence. The panelists included scholars, veterans and serving officers who have made immense contribution in this field to include Dr Kajari Kamal, an accomplished scholar in Military Education, she brought her profound knowledge of Kautilya and the larger canvas of Indian Strategic culture.
Today’s discussion is only the first step in a series of engagements planned under Project Udbhav. This endeavor sets the stage for future initiatives, like the eagerly anticipated Military Heritage Festival and the presentation of papers, which will delve into the intricate details of strategic texts and their relevance today.
The panel discussion has firmly placed the spotlight on India’s rich and often understudied strategic and military heritage. By reintroducing these classical teachings into the contemporary military and strategic domains, the Indian Army aims to nurture the officers to apply ancient wisdom in modern scenarios and also allow a more profound understanding of international relations and foreign cultures.