Arthashastra, Bhagavad Gita may soon be part of India’s military training

The College of Defence Management (CDM) recently conducted an internal study that suggested finding ways to include ‘relevant teachings’ from ancient Indian texts such as Kautilya’s Arthashastra and Bhagavat Gita into the current military training curriculum, a report published by News 18 said. It has also suggested setting up an ‘Indian Culture Study Forum’.

The project titled “Attributes of Ancient Indian Culture and Warfare Techniques and its incorporation in present day strategic thinking and training” was sponsored by Headquarter Integrated Defence Staff. Defence sources told News18 that the project was aimed at exploring select ancient Indian texts in the context of strategic thinking and leadership in the Indian Armed Forces, and set up a roadmap for adopting best practices and thoughts from them, which are relevant in current times. “This could be in the sphere of statecraft, military diplomacy, among others,” a top defence source said. The report further recommended that a study on ancient texts and treatise such as Manusmriti, Nitisara and Mahabharata should be carried out for two years, as well as organising workshops and annual seminars on ancient Indian culture and its lessons for the Armed Forces. Since the Bharatiya Janata Party-led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has come to power in 2014, there has been a lot of emphasis on the Indianisation of the defence forces, from military equipment and weapons systems to culture and themes. reported “In 2016, the Army War College, Mhow, had also published a combat paper, which drew instances from the Mahabharata and Arthashastra and stated that the strategic thoughts and art of war found in the texts were also relevant in today’s context as well.” The ancient Indian texts are relevant for leadership, warfare and strategic thinking.