India on March 18 unveiled its Arctic Policy, aimed at strengthening national capabilities and competencies in science and exploration, climate and environmental protection, maritime and economic cooperation with the Arctic region.
WHAT ARE THE OTHER AIMS OF INDIA’S ARCTIC PILICY?
Titled “India and the Arctic: building a partnership for sustainable development”, the policy aims at
- Contributing better analysis, prediction, and coordinated policymaking on the implications of ice melting in the Arctic on India’s economic, military and strategic interests related to global shipping routes, energy security, and exploitation of mineral wealth.
- Studying linkages between polar regions and the Himalayas.
- Deepen cooperation between India and countries of the Arctic region under various Arctic forums, drawing expertise from scientific and traditional knowledge.
- Increase India’s participation in the Arctic Council and improve understanding of the complex governance structures in the Arctic, relevant international laws, and geopolitics of the region.
WHAT ARE THE PILLARS OF THE POLICY?
The policy lays down six pillars: strengthening India’s scientific research and cooperation, climate and environmental protection, economic and human development, transportation and connectivity, governance and international cooperation, and national capacity building in the Arctic region. Implementing India’s Arctic policy will involve multiple stakeholders, including academia, the research community, business, and industry.
Releasing the document, Earth Sciences Minister Jitendra Singh said the policy would play an essential role in preparing the country for a future where humankind’s biggest challenges, such as climate change, can be addressed through collective will and effort. India’s policy shall be implemented through an action plan, and an effective governance and review mechanism involving the inter-ministerial Empowered Arctic Policy Group.
Implementing India’s policy will involve multiple stakeholders, including academia, the research community, business, and industry.
INDIA’S ENGAGEMENT WITH THE ARCTIC
India’s engagement with the region dates back to 1920 when Svalbard Treaty was signed in Paris. The country now undertakes several scientific studies and research in the region. Over twenty-five Institutes and Universities are currently involved in the polar research in India. About a hundred peer-reviewed papers have been published on Arctic issues since 2007. Indian researchers are monitoring arctic glaciers for their mass balance and comparing them with glaciers in the Himalayan region. India has also been actively involved in studies related to the Arctic oceanography, atmosphere, pollution and microbiology. Thirteen nations are observers in the Council which include France, Germany, Italian Republic, Japan, The Netherlands, People’s Republic of China, Poland, India, Republic of Korea, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom. In 2014 and 2016, India’s first multi-sensor moored observatory in Kongsfjorden and the northernmost atmospheric laboratory in Gruvebadet, Ny Alesund, were launched in the region. Until 2022, India has successfully conducted thirteen expeditions to the region.