What is the aim of Army’s Udbhav project?

NEW DELHI: The Army’s new project called `Udbhav’ to integrate India’s ancient strategic acumen with contemporary military practices to address modern security challenges and prepare for the battles of the future was formally launched by defence minister Rajnath Singh here on Saturday.
The Army’s drive to reclaim “profound Indic heritage” in statecraft, strategy, diplomacy and warfare derived from ancient treatises like Arthashastra (Kautilya), Nitisara (Kamandaka) and The Kural (Thiruvalluvar) as well as centuries-old military campaigns is in tune with the government’s directive to “Indianise” the armed forces and junk “vestiges of the colonial era”, as was reported by TOI last month.
Project Udbhav has already triggered some criticism by certain sections of serving military officers and veterans, who question its utility in modern-day digitized battlefields of drones and smart bombs, space and cyber warfare, ballistic missiles and supersonic/hypersonic weapons. “With China posing a clear and present strategic danger, the Army’s entire unwavering focus should be on modernization and training,” a senior officer said, on the condition of anonymity.
But the defence ministry and the Army were all gung-ho about Project Udbhav, which translates into “origin” or “genesis”, during the inauguration of the Military Heritage Festival by Singh, along with General Manoj Pande, on Saturday. “It embodies the Indian Army’s sincere endeavour to revisit the roots of India’s military thoughts,” deputy chief (strategy) Lt-General Tarun Kumar Aich said.
“The project’s objective is to synthesize ancient wisdom with contemporary military practices, forging a unique and holistic approach to address modern security challenges. It is a visionary initiative by the Indian Army that seeks to integrate age-old wisdom with contemporary military pedagogy,” he added.
Arthashastra, for instance, underscores the importance of strategic alliances and diplomacy, aligning with modern military practices such as international cooperation and soft power projection.
“Similarly, the wisdom of Thirukkural, the classical Tamil text authored by Thiruvalluvar, advocates ethical conduct in all endeavours, including warfare. This aligns with modern military codes of ethics of just war and principles of the Geneva Convention,” Lt-Gen Aich said.
From Chandragupta Maurya and Ashoka to the Cholas and the Ahom Kingdom, the Army says a deep study of prominent leaders and battles of yore is also equally important. “The tenets expounded by our ancient knowledge system were also put to practise by Chhatrapati Shivaji and Maharaja Ranjit Singh who defeated the numerically superior Mughal and Afghan invaders,” Lt-Gen Aich said.
While Shivaji’s use of guerrilla tactics is well acknowledged, his foresightedness in the construction of a series of naval forts along the western seaboard to ward off external threats is less known, he added.
The MoD, in turn, said Project Udbhav would emerge as the fulcrum of “indigenous strategic developments” as well as help develop “a strategic vocabulary and conceptual framework” rooted in India’s philosophy and culture.
“It sets the stage for a robust, progressive and future-ready Indian Army that not only resonates with the nation’s historical military sagacity, but is also attuned to the demands and dynamics of contemporary warfare and diplomacy,” a MoD statement said.

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