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Mahabharata, Mauryas, Marathas: What is Project Udbhav, Indian Army's initiative to rediscover heritage?

The Indian Army is gearing up for future conflicts by drawing strategic insights from ancient Indian texts like the Vedas, Puranas, and the Mahabharata. Launched in October 2023 by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Project Udbhav aims to explore India’s rich military heritage.

Edited By: Nitin Kumar @Niitz1 New Delhi Published on: May 22, 2024 16:19 IST
Project Udbhav
Image Source : X/@ADGPI Indian Army Chief General Manoj Pande with Raksha Rajya Mantri (RRM) Ajay Bhatt.

The Indian Army is preparing for future conflicts by drawing insights from ancient Indian texts like the Vedas, Puranas, and the Mahabharata. Army Chief General Manoj Pande highlighted the significance of Project Udbhav, an initiative launched last year to explore India’s military heritage.

Project launch and objectives

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh officially launched Project Udbhav in October 2023. Speaking at a recent conference, General Pande emphasised that India’s security cannot be outsourced and stressed the importance of self-reliance. Traditionally, India has studied Western war strategies, but these may not always be relevant to the region's specific challenges and geography. Therefore, India is now turning to its rich heritage for guidance.

Exploring ancient texts

Project Udbhav delves into ancient Indian texts such as the Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, and Arthashastra. These texts, rooted in spirituality and moral values, provide insights into governance, strategy, diplomacy, and warfare. The initiative also examines the epic battles of the Mahabharata and the strategic brilliance of historical empires like the Mauryas, Guptas, and Marathas.

"Project Udbhav was conceptualised with an idea to rediscover the profound Indian heritage of statecraft & strategic thoughts derived from the ancient text of statecraft, warcraft, and diplomacy & introduce relevant teachings to the present day military...The project has delved deep into ancient texts such as Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads and Arthashastra, which are rooted in interconnectedness, righteousness and ethical values. It has explored the epic battles of Mahabharata and strategic brilliance during the reigns of Mauryas, Guptas and Marathas, which have shaped India's rich military heritage," said General Manoj Pande.

Learning from legendary warriors

India has a long history of legendary warrior kings like Maharaja Ranjit Singh and Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj. The Indian Army is drawing lessons from their military strategies. Texts like Kautilya's Arthashastra, Kamandaka's Nitisara, and the Tamil poet-saint Thiruvalluvar's Tirukkural are being revisited for their teachings on governance, strategy, and the ethics of warfare.

Support and collaboration

Project Udbhav has garnered support from various sectors. According to a Hindustan Times report, retired Air Marshal Anil Chopra and other strategic experts have praised the initiative. Minister of State for Defence Ajay Bhatt has also lauded the project.

Future plans

Project Udbhav was officially launched during the Indian Military Heritage Festival in October 2023, marking a collaborative effort between the Indian Army and the United Service Institution (USI) to promote the study of India's military heritage. The Army plans to upload the findings from Project Udbhav on the USI website to reach a wider audience.

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