Kalam & Kavach: A Defence Litfest

In the heart of Pune, a city known for its rich cultural heritage and intellectual legacy, a landmark event unfolded that promised to redefine the discourse around defence, strategy, and national security.

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Kalam & Kavach” Defence Lit Fest, an initiative spearheaded by Pentagon Press in collaboration with the Southern Command of the Indian Army, marked its inception. This event, commemorating the 25th anniversary of Kargil Vijay Diwas, was not just a celebration of victory but an intellectual expedition to bridge the wisdom of ancient India with the strategic needs of the modern world.

The inaugural ceremony

The festival commenced with a ceremony that was symbolic yet profound in its implications. Esteemed Chief Guest Gen Anil Chauhan, the Chief of Defence Staff; Lt. General Ajai Kumar Singh, GOC-in-C Southern Command; and Rajan Arya, CEO & Founder of Pentagon Press, jointly inaugurated the event by lighting the ceremonial lamp. This act was emblematic of the enlightenment and guidance sought from the sessions and discussions that would follow, aiming to cast light on the strategic pathways for India’s defence and security framework.

Reflections on Kargil and the march towards awareness

The welcome address by Rajan Arya’s reflected on the Kargil War intertwining the narrative of battlefield bravery with the broader mission of Pentagon Press to educate and raise awareness about national security. This dual narrative served as a reminder of the sacrifices made for the nation’s sovereignty and the continuous effort required to understand and navigate the complexities of contemporary security challenges.

Envisioning the future through the lens of the past

The inaugural address by General Ajai Kumar Singh mentioned how historical an event like Kalam & Kavach could be for India’s strategic discourse. He emphasized the timeless relevance of Dharma—principles of duty, righteousness, and moral balance, as delineated in Indian scriptures. Drawing parallels between the strategic narratives found in the Mahabharata, Ramayana, and Bhagavad Gita, and the complex geopolitical realities of today, General Chauhan elucidated how ancient wisdom provides insights into modern conflicts.

The Third Revolution of Military Affairs

The keynote address by General Anil Chauhan reference to the armed forces standing on the cusp of a third revolution in military affairs (RMA) underscored the transformative changes underway in the realm of defence and security. This evolution, he posited, is not just technological but philosophical, integrating the strategic profundity of ancient texts into the fabric of modern military tactics and operations. India’s role as a “Vishwa guru” (world leader) and “Vishwa Mitra” (global friend) was reaffirmed, emphasizing the nation’s innate capability for deep analytical thought and its relevance in shaping global peace and security.

A literary salute to strategy and security

The festival also served as a platform for the launch of pivotal works, each shedding light on different facets of global geopolitics, defence, and the role of emerging technologies like AI in national security. Books such as “Russia, Gaza, Taiwan… A World at War” by Ajay Singh, and “AI and National Security” by Col Amit Sinha, represent significant contributions to the ongoing dialogue on security and strategy, bridging historical insights with contemporary analysis.

Atmanirbhar Bharat: India’s quest for self-reliance

One of the festival’s highlights was the session on ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat – Powering India’s Defence Sector,’ where industry leaders discussed the strides India is making towards self-reliance in defence. Baba Kalyani’s remarks on the indigenization of defence production underscored a pivotal shift towards self-sufficiency, leveraging India’s manufacturing capabilities to meet its strategic needs.

Legacy and vision: The path forward

The legacy of “Kalam & Kavach” is a reminder that the pen and the shield—knowledge and defence—must go hand in hand in crafting strategies that ensure peace, security, and prosperity for all.

As the inaugural “Kalam & Kavach” Defence Literature Festival drew to a close, it left behind a legacy of enlightened discourse and a vision for the future. The festival became a ground for the exchange of ideas where the ancient strategies of war, diplomacy, and governance found resonance with contemporary thoughts on international relations, peacekeeping, and conflict resolution. It highlighted the necessity of learning from history, not merely as an academic exercise but as a practical guide in navigating today’s volatile geopolitical landscape.

As participants and organizers look forward to future editions of the festival, It calls upon the next generation of strategists, policymakers, and enthusiasts to delve into the rich reservoir of India’s ancient wisdom while staying attuned to the realities of the modern world. It encourages a multidisciplinary approach to security, one that incorporates insights from history, technology, philosophy, and ethics.

The spirit of “Kalam and Kavach” continues to guide their journey towards fostering a world where strategic thought, grounded in the wisdom of the past, paves the way for a secure and harmonious future.

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