India recently participated in the 3rd Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM3) – the global platform for discussing research and cooperation in the Arctic region.
- Union Minister for Earth Sciences Harsh Vardhan virtually represented India in the ASM3 which was held in Tokyo, Japan.
- It was jointly organized by Japan and Iceland.
- The ASM3 is the first meeting to be held in Asia.
- The first two meetings—ASM1 and ASM2—were held in the USA in 2016 and Germany in 2018, respectively.
- The theme of 2021 Arctic Ministerial Meeting was – “Knowledge for a Sustainable Arctic“.
- The main objective of the meet is that provides opportunities to various stakeholders, including academia, indigenous communities, governments and policymakers, to enhance collective understanding of the Arctic region, emphasize and engage in constant monitoring, and strengthen observations.
India’s stand at the Meet:
- India’s plans for research and long-term cooperation in the Arctic Region.
- India will contribute observing systems in the Arctic, both in-situ and by remote sensing.
- India would deploy open ocean mooring in the Arctic for long-term monitoring of upper ocean variables and marine meteorological parameters.
- India is all set to launch NISAR (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite mission, in collaboration with the USA which will help in conducting global measurements of the cause and consequences of land surface changes using advanced radar imaging.
- India will continue to contribute to the Sustained Arctic Observational Network (SAON).
- India proposed to host the next or future Arctic Science Ministerial meet.
India’s Engagement in the Arctic – Svalbard Treaty:
- India’s engagement in the Arctic region started with the signing of Svalbard Treaty of Paris in 1920.
- Since 2008, India constructed a permanent research station in the Arctic region.
- It is called Himadri.
- Himadri is located at NyAlesund, Norway.
- In 2014, India also deployed a multi sensor observer called IndARC in Kongfjiorden fjord.
- The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India (GoI) coordinates and conducts the research in the Arctic region.
- India recently drafted a new Arctic policy that aims at expanding scientific research, sustainable tourism and exploration of mineral oil and gas in the Arctic region.
India’s Arctic Policy:
The recently released draft Arctic Policy document outlines five pillars of India’s policy. They are as follows:
- Development of Human Resource capabilities
- Global governance and international cooperation
- Economics and Human development
- Scientific research
- NISER is NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar satellite mission.
- It aims to conduct global measurements of the cause and consequences of land surface changes using advanced radar imaging.
It is an ongoing project.
International Arctic Science Committee (IASC):
- IASC is a non-governmental, international scientific organization.
- Sustaining Arctic Observing Network (SAON) is a joint activity of the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC) and the Arctic Council.
- The purpose of SAON is to support and strengthen the development of multinational engagement for sustained and coordinated pan-Arctic observing and data sharing systems.
- The Arctic region comprises the Arctic Ocean and parts of countries such as Canada, Denmark (Greenland), Norway, Russia, USA (Alaska), Finland, Sweden and Iceland.
- These countries together form the core of the Arctic Council, an intergovernmental forum.
- It is headquartered in Norway.
- The Arctic Council was formed in 1996.
- It addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic.
- India is an “Observer” in the Arctic Council since 2013.