India’s draft Arctic policy

Why in News?

Indian Government has presented the draft Arctic policy. The policy is open to public comments until January 26.

  • The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Ministry of Earth Sciences is the nodal agency for India’s Polar research programme, which includes Arctic studies. The Ministry of External Affairs provides the external interface to the Arctic Council.

India’s Arctic Policy:

Pillars of the Policy: India’s Arctic policy will rest on five pillars:

  • Science and research
  • Economic and human development cooperation
  • Transportation and connectivity
  • Governance and international cooperation
  • National capacity building

Key Objectives:

  • To better understand the scientific and climate-related linkages between the Arctic and the Indian monsoons.
  • 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.
  • To put in place Arctic-related programmes for mineral/oil and gas exploration in petroleum research institutes. It also aimed at encouraging tourism and hospitality sectors to engage with Arctic enterprises.

Significance of Arctic Policy

Other than the benefits related to oil and exploration, the Arctic influences tropical climate also. It has an impact on the atmospheric, oceanographic and biogeochemical cycles of the earth’s ecosystem.

Loss of Ice-Caps at the Arctic will lower the Ocean salinity and increase the temperature differential between land and oceans in the tropical regions.

The Study on the Arctic will also be helpful in studying melting rates of the third pole — the Himalayan glaciers.

Additional Facts:

India And The Arctic – A History Of Cooperation

  • India’s engagement with the Arctic began in 1920 when it signed the Svalbard Treaty in Paris.
  • In 2007, India launched its first scientific expedition to the Arctic.
  • In 2008, India had set up a research station ‘Himadri’ in the international Arctic research base at Ny-Ålesund in Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway. Himadri is manned for about 180 days a year.
  • IndArc, the country’s first multi-sensor moored observatory was deployed in Kongsfjorden in 2014. In 2016, India’s northernmost atmospheric laboratory was established at Gruvebadet.

Arctic Council:

  • It was formally established in 1996 by The Ottawa Declaration. It is an intergovernmental forum for promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction between the Arctic States.
  • Members: a) Canada b) Denmark, c) Finland d) Iceland e) Norway f) Russia g) Sweden and h) United States.
  • India: India has received the ‘Observer’ country status in the Arctic Council in 2013 and is one among the 13 countries across the world, including China, to have that position. The status was renewed in 2018.

Source: The Hindu

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