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India’s Draft Arctic Policy

India’s Draft Arctic Policy

The Indian government recently shared a sneak peek of its plans for the Arctic, and it’s all about getting involved in scientific research, supporting eco-friendly tourism, and checking out what resources like oil and gas the region has to offer. India has been putting money into the Arctic for a while now, seeing it as a treasure trove for research and valuable stuff like minerals and hydrocarbons. To make things official, India has put together its very own 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

  • Let’s explore how the Arctic and Indian monsoons are connected scientifically and through climate patterns.
  • We want to boost our homegrown scientific expertise by broadening studies in earth sciences, biology, geosciences, climate change, and space in Indian universities. This will align with the specific needs and challenges of the Arctic region.
  • We’re setting up initiatives in petroleum research institutes to delve into mineral/oil and gas exploration in the Arctic. This includes fostering collaboration with the tourism and hospitality sectors to connect with Arctic businesses.

Significance of Arctic Policy

  • Arctic’s Ripple Effect: The Arctic isn’t just about oil and exploration; it plays a big role in shaping our global climate. It affects how our atmosphere, oceans, and the Earth’s overall system work together.
  • Melting Matters: If the ice caps in the Arctic disappear, it’s not just a local problem. The ocean’s saltiness could drop, and the temperature gap between tropical land and oceans might get bigger.
  • Connecting the Dots: Studying the Arctic isn’t just about chilly landscapes. It helps us understand how fast the Himalayan glaciers, our “third pole,” are melting. This knowledge is crucial for tackling broader climate issues.

History of India And The Arctic

  • India started getting involved in the Arctic in 1920 by signing the Svalbard Treaty in Paris.
  • In 2007, India sent out its very first scientific expedition to the Arctic.
  • The following year, in 2008, India set up a research station named ‘Himadri’ at Ny-Ålesund in Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway, as part of the international Arctic research base. Himadri operates for about 180 days each year.
  • In 2014, the country deployed its first multi-sensor moored observatory, called IndArc, in Kongsfjorden.
  • Then, in 2016, India established its northernmost atmospheric laboratory at Gruvebadet, marking another milestone in its Arctic exploration efforts.

Way Forward

Now is the perfect time for India to do more in the Arctic than just explore it scientifically. We should broaden our involvement to include strategic, economic, environmental, and political aspects. So, creating a new Arctic policy is exactly what we need right now.

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