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Project Udbhav

  • Published
    3rd Oct, 2023

Recently, the Indian Army has announced an initiative, named Project Udbhav, to rediscover the “profound Indic heritage of statecraft and strategic thoughts” derived from ancient Indian texts of “statecraft, warcraft, diplomacy and grand strategy” in collaboration with the United Service Institution of India (USI).

  • The first scholarly outcome of the initiative was released titled, Paramparik Bhartiya Darshan…Ranniti aur Netriyta ke Shashwat Niyam, meant to be read by all ranks of the Indian Army in
  • Recently, a panel made by the government has made discussion including a dialogue 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.
About the Initiative:
  • The project endeavours to explore India’s rich historical narratives in the realms of statecraft and strategic thoughts.
  • It focuses on indigenous military systems, historical texts, regional texts and kingdoms, thematic studies, and intricate Kautilya Studies.
  • Objectives:
    • 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.
    • The overall aim is to integrate age-old wisdom with modern military pedagogy.
  • Significance:
    • The initiative stands testimony to the Army’s recognition of India’s age-old wisdom in statecraft, strategy, diplomacy, and warfare that seeks to bridge the historical and the contemporary.
    • By reintroducing these classical teachings into contemporary military and strategic domains, the Army aims to nurture its officers to apply ancient wisdom in modern scenarios and also allow a more profound understanding of international relations and foreign cultures.

Kautilya’s Arthashastra:

  • It dated from 4th to 1st century BCE.
  • It consists of fifteen books called adhikaranas which have sections comprising of prose called sutra(s), literally meaning, thread, string or clue.
  • The first five books of the text deal with domestic administration, and the next eight resolve the dilemmas of world affairs.

Thiruvalluvar’s Kural:

  • It belongs to the post-Sangam literature which comprises of Eighteen Minor Works called kilkkanakku (Subbarayalu, 2014, 46).
  • Out of these eighteen minor works, the Kural is considered to be a book of lofty wisdom.
  • The term ‘Kural’ in the Tamil language means ‘anything short’, indicating brief and concise couplets of wisdom.

United Service Institution of India (USI):

  • United Service Institution of India is a national security and defence services think tank based in New Delhi, India.
  • It describes its aim as the "furtherance of interest and knowledge in the art, science and literature of the defense services".
  • USI operates centers for research in various areas of national security.

During the pre-independence period, the USI had played a leading role in shaping the strategic thought of British Empire — not only on how to rule India but also in generating informed policy debates on its expeditionary forays in the strategic neighborhood of Afghanistan, Tibet, China, Burma and elsewhere.

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