India’s Draft ‘Arctic’ Policy–Highlights

A new draft Arctic policy has been unveiled by India. The draft policy commits to expand sustainable tourism, scientific research, and gas & mineral oil exploration in the Arctic region.

Key Points

  • This Artic draft policy is now open for reviews from the public till January 26.
  • The draft policy has been prepared after deliberations among several ministries.
  • India expects the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research to act as a nodal body to lead scientific research and to coordinate among different scientific bodies by promoting domestic scientific research capacities.
  • The research capacities will be promoted by expanding biological sciences, earth sciences, geosciences, space-related programmes, climate change, dove-tailed with Arctic imperatives in Indian Universities.
  • Other aims of the policy comprise of putting in place Arctic-related programmes for encouraging tourism, oil/mineral, and gas exploration in petroleum research institutes, and hospitality sectors in building specialized capacities and awareness to engage with Arctic enterprises.
  • Five Arctic littoral states —Denmark (Greenland), Canada, Norway, the USA (Alaska), and Russia— and three other Arctic nations — Sweden, Finland, and Iceland — form the Arctic Council.
  • The Arctic is home to around 4 million people, out of which around one-tenth are indigenous people.
  • Arctic research will help the scientific community of India in studying the melting rates of the third pole — the Himalayan glaciers.

India’s 1st Scientific Expedition

India launched its 1st scientific expedition to the Arctic in the year 2007. The country also set up a research station ‘Himadri’ in the international Arctic research base at Ny-Ålesund in Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway. It has two other observatories in Gruvebadet and Kongsforden. Himadri is manned for around 180 days a year.

More than 300 Indian researchers have worked in the Himadri station since its establishment. Also, since 2007, India has sent 13 expeditions to the Arctic and the country runs 23 active projects.