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  • 23 January, 2021

  • 20 Min Read

India’s new draft “Arctic policy”

India’s new draft “Arctic policy”

  • India has unveiled a new draft ‘Arctic’ policy that, among other things, commits to expanding scientific research, “sustainable tourism” and mineral oil and gas exploration in the Arctic region.
  • India expects the Goa-based National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research to lead scientific research and act as a nodal body to coordinate among various scientific bodies to promote domestic scientific research capacities by expanding “earth sciences, biological sciences, geosciences, climate change and space related programmes, dove-tailed with Arctic imperatives in Indian universities.”

NCPOR (National Center for Polar and Ocean Research), Goa

  1. It was earlier known as National Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) and is now renamed as National Center for Polar and Ocean Research.
  2. NCAOR was established in 1998 for expeditions to Antarctic first and later its mandate was expanded to include both Arctic and Antarctic.
  3. NCPOR is India’s premier R&D institution in the Polar and Southern Ocean realms.
  4. The mandate of NCPOR is multi-dimensional:
    1. Research and Help in Expeditions to the Polar and Ocean sciences (Indian part of Southern Ocean).
    2. Geo scientific surveys of India's Exclusive Economic Zone and beyond 200M, Deep sea drilling in Arabian Sea basin, exploration for ocean non-living resources such as the gas hydrates and multi-metal sulphides in mid-ocean ridges.
    3. Upkeep of Research bases of Maitri and Bharati of Antarctic and Himadri at Arctic.
    4. Upkeep research vessel ORV Sagar Kanya and others.
    5. The research-vessel fleet consists of 6 research vessels viz Sagar Kanya, Sagar Sampata, Sagar Nidhi, Sagar Manjusha, Sagar Purvi & Saga Paschmi currently, and a 7th being the Polar Research Vessel (PRV) is being constructed.

  • Other objectives of the policy include “...putting in place Arctic related programmes for mineral/oil and gas exploration in petroleum research institutes and encouraging tourism and hospitality sectors in building specialised capacities and awareness to engage with Arctic enterprises,” according to the says the document available online at www.arcticpolicy.nic.in.
  • “Arctic research will help India’s scientific community to study melting rates of the third pole — the Himalayan glaciers, which are endowed with the largest freshwater reserves in the world outside the geographic poles,” the document notes.

India and Arctic Programmes

  1. India initiated its Arctic Research program in 2007 with thrust on Climate change at Poles. Its objectives were to
  2. Study connections between Arctic climate and Indian monsoon.
  3. Study sea ice to estimate the effect of global warming at Poles.
  4. Study on effects of glaciers on Sea level change.
  5. Flora & Fauna Assessment and their response to anthropogenic activities.
  6. Comparative study of both Poles.
  7. India launched its 1st science expedition in 2007 and opened "Himadri" at Ny-Alesund, Spitsbergen Island, Svalbard (Norway).
  8. India has established a high altitude research station in the Himalayas called HIMANSH at Spiti, HP.
  9. India - Sweden: MoU for Polar Science Cooperation (both for Arctic & Antarctic).
  10. Agreement on Reciprocal Logistics Support (ARLS) with Russia will give access to India for the Russian bases in Arctic for logistics & operational turnaround.

IndARC Project

  1. It is India's 1st underwater observatory in the frigid waters of Arctic Ocean in the Kongsfjorden fjord (natural lab).
  2. It is executed with the help of Norway.
  3. It will help scientists understand the Arctic climate process and it's influence on the Indian Monsoon system. It will also study the salinity and temperature profile.
  4. It is designed and developed by the scientists from (Earth System Science Organisation) ESSO; NCAOR, Goa; National Institute of Ocean Technology, Chennai and INCOIS, Hyderabad.

MOSAiC mission (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the study of Arctic Climate.)

  1. It aims to understand Global Warming. The mission has received funding from US institutions like NASA, National Science Foundation, Department of Energy and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
  2. It is the largest ever Arctic expedition.
  3. Scientists from 17 countries will take part in this year-long mission as they anchor the ship (German icebreaker RV Polarstern) to a large piece of Arctic sea ice to study climate change.
  4. This mission comes 125 years after Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen 1st managed to seal his wooden expedition ship, Fram into the ice during a 3 year expedition to the North Pole.
  5. India’s Vishnu Nandan is among the 300 researchers who will deploy radar sensor on the sea ice surface from Polarstern. It is the 1st study of this scale at the North Pole for an entire year.

Source: TH

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