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India's First Winter Scientific Arctic Expedition Launched

Utkarsh Classes 19-12-2023
India's First Winter Scientific Arctic Expedition Launched Science and Technology 4 min read

Union Earth Sciences Minister Kiren Rijiju launched India's first winter scientific expedition to the Arctic from the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) headquarters in New Delhi on December 18, 2023.

  • The Indian Scientific Expedition to the Arctic will take place from November to March. Researchers will be able to make special scientific observations during polar nights. In this region, there is no sunlight for 24 hours a day for most days in winter. Also, temperatures drop below zero. 
  • India has been operating a research base in the Arctic called Himadri since 2008, hosting scientists mostly during the summer (April to October).
  • India's Arctic Research Base Himadri is located 1231 km south of the North Pole at 78˚55' North (N), 11˚56' East (E). Where members of the Indian Arctic Expedition will conduct observations and experiments.
  • The first group of researchers for the Arctic winter expedition includes researchers from the National Center for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi, Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology Pune, and Raman Research Institute, Bengaluru. 
  • With the launch of winter operations in the Arctic, India has become one of the few countries to increase operations in the Arctic on a timely basis.

India's Arctic Policy:

  • In March 2022, the Ministry of Earth Sciences unveiled India's Arctic Policy, titled 'India and the Arctic: Building a Partnership for Sustainable Development'.
  • India's Arctic policy has six pillars. These pillars are:
  1. Strengthening India's scientific research and cooperation
  2. Climate and environmental protection
  3. Economic and human development
  4. Transportation and connectivity
  5. Operations and international cooperation
  6. Capacity building in the national Arctic region
  • India is one of the 13 countries with observer status in the Arctic Council.

Objectives of India's Arctic Policy:

  • To enhance understanding of the impact of climate change in the Arctic on India's climate, economic and energy security.
  • Inter-ministerial coordination in pursuit of India's interests in the Arctic.
  • To study the relationship between the polar regions and the Himalayas.
  • India aims to enhance cooperation with Arctic countries through various Arctic forums. It involves sharing scientific and traditional knowledge. 

About Arctic:

  • The Arctic is a polar region located in the northernmost part of the Earth.
  • The land under the Arctic region has seasonally varying snow and ice cover.
  • The Arctic includes the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and Alaska (United States), Canada, Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.

FAQ

Ans. Union Earth Sciences Minister Kiren Rijiju

Ans. Himadri

Ans. The Ministry of Earth Sciences launched India's Arctic Policy in March 2022.

Ans. Thirteen countries have been granted observer status by the Arctic Council. India is one of those 13 countries.
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