Rajnath Singh launches army project to draw lessons from ancient Indian texts | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Rajnath Singh launches army project to draw lessons from ancient Indian texts

Oct 21, 2023 07:21 PM IST

The project is an endeavour to revisit the roots of India’s ancient military thoughts and it comes against the backdrop of a flurry of efforts by the government to encourage “Indianisation” in areas including education, health and science

Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Saturday launched army’s Project Udbhav (or origin), which seeks to draw on treatises such as Chanakya’s Arthashastra, Kamandaka’s Nitisara and Tamil poet-saint Thiruvalluvar’s Thirukkural for lessons on statecraft, strategy, diplomacy and warfare from ancient Indian philosophy, officials aware of the matter said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during the Indian Military Heritage Festival in Delhi on Saturday. (ANI)
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during the Indian Military Heritage Festival in Delhi on Saturday. (ANI)

The scope of the project covers how Indian warrior kings defeated Mughal invaders, the officials said.

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Singh launched the project during the inauguration of the Indian Military Heritage Festival. Army chief General Manoj Pande, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal VR Chaudhari and other senior officials were present.

Lieutenant General Tarun Kumar Aich, deputy chief of army staff (strategy), said the project was an endeavour to revisit the roots of India’s ancient military thoughts. The move comes against the backdrop of a flurry of efforts by the government to encourage “Indianisation” in areas including education, health and science.

“The objective is to synthesise ancient wisdom with contemporary military practices, forging a unique approach to address modern security challenges,” an army statement said. It’s a collaboration between the army and think tank United Service Institution of India.

Arthashastra underscores the importance of strategic partnerships, alliances and diplomacy, aligning with modern military practices such as international cooperation and soft power projection, it said.

“Chanakya’s teachings on statecraft and warfare are studied by various institutions the world over. Similarly, the wisdom of Thirukkural advocates ethical conduct in all endeavours including warfare. This aligns with modern military codes of ethics of just war and principles of Geneva Convention.”

Apart from ancient texts, the project entails revisiting prominent military campaigns and leaders.

“The empires of Chandragupta Maurya, Ashoka and Cholas flourished during their times. There is the example of the Ahom kingdom too, which successfully ruled for 600 years, repeatedly defeating the Mughals. The naval battle of Saraighat in 1671, led by Lachit Borphukan, stands as a stellar example of the use of clever diplomatic negotiations to buy time, employ psychological warfare, focus on military intelligence and exploiting the strategic weakness of the Mughals,” the statement said.

The tenets expounded by the ancient knowledge system were put to practice by Chhatrapati Shivaji and Maharaja Ranjit Singh who defeated numerically superior Mughal and Afghan invaders, it added.

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