www.iasinsights.in ; www.iasgyaan.com posts Featured article about India’s research in Arctic
- Three decades after its first mission to Antarctica, the government is refocusing priorities to the other pole — the Arctic—because of opportunities and challenges posed by climate change.
- This month, it has renamed the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) — since 1998, charged with conducting expeditions to India’s base stations to the continent — as the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research.
- It’s also in talks with Canada and Russia, key countries with presence in the Arctic circle, to establish new observation systems.
- Now, India only has one Arctic observation station near Norway.
- While annual missions to maintain India’s three bases in Antarctica will continue, the new priorities mean that there will be more expeditions and research focus on the other poles.
- Climate change was a decisive factor in India re-thinking priorities.
- Sea ice at the Arctic has been melting rapidly — the fastest in this century.
- That means several spots, rich in hydrocarbon reserves, will be more accessible through the year via alternative shipping routes.
- The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, Arctic indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic.
- India is already an observer at the Arctic Council and, in 2015, set up an underground observatory, called IndARC, at the Kongsfjorden fjord, halfway between Norway and the North Pole.