The Union Earth Sciences Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan while participating in the third Arctic Science Ministerial on May 8, 2021, stated that India will continue to continue to play a positive role in deepening the shared understanding of the Arctic through research, observation, international cooperation, and capacity building.
The Union Minister also proposed that India can be given the opportunity of hosting the next or the future Arctic Science Ministerial. The theme of the 3rd ASM was ‘Knowledge for Sustainable Arctic’.
ASM is a global platform for discussing cooperation and research in the Arctic Region. The first Arctic Science Ministerial was held in the US in 2016 and the second one was in Germany in 2018. The third was jointly organized by Japan and Iceland and was held in Asia.
Pleased to have addressed via VC today, the Third Arctic Science Ministerial.
— Dr Harsh Vardhan (@drharshvardhan)
May 8, 2021
The Arctic Science Ministerial aims at providing opportunities to various stakeholders, which include indigenous communities, academia, policymakers, and governments, to enhance their collective understanding of the Arctic Region. It also emphasizes and engages in the constant monitoring and strengthening of observations.
What is Arctic Council?
It is a high-level intergovernmental forum for promoting the coordination, cooperation, and interaction towards sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic Region.
The Arctic Region is warming and its ice melting is a global concern as they play a significant role in sea levels, regulating the climate, and maintaining biodiversity.
India at 3rd Arctic Science Ministerial: Key Details
• During the meeting, India shared its plans of contributing to the observing systems in the Arctic, both by remote-sensing or on-site.
• India will also be deploying open ocean mooring in the Arctic Region. It will be for the long-term monitoring of the upper ocean variables and marine meteorological parameters.
• The country assured that it will continue to play a positive role in the Arctic Region. It will also be promoting sustainable development of the region through international cooperation.
• India, during the meeting, also talked about the growing evidence of a connection between the Indian Ocean and the Arctic region, which modulates the Indian Monsoon. It added that improving the understating of physical processes and measuring the impact of Arctic ice melt on India’s monsoon is significant.
NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar Satellite Mission:
At the 3rd Arctic Science Ministerial, India while laying its plans for the Arctic Region informed that the launch of the NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar Satellite Mission, in collaboration with the United States is also underway.
The mission by India and the US aims at conducting global measurements of the consequences and cause of the land surface changes with the use of advanced radar imaging.
The country assured that its contributions to the sustained Arctic Observational Network will continue.
India’s status in Arctic Council:
• India, since 2013, enjoys an’ observer status’ in the Arctic Council along with 12 other nations, namely Japan, France, China, Italy, UK, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, and the Netherlands.
• As part of the Arctic Council, the country contributes to the international deliberations for developing effective cooperative partnerships towards a stable, safe and secure region.
• The engagement between India and Arctic Council dates back to 1920 when the Svalbard Treaty in Paris was signed.
India’s research in the Arctic Region:
India has had a permanent research station in the Arctic Region called Himadari at NyAlesund, Svalbard Area in Norway, since July 2008.
The country has also deployed a multi-sensor moored observatory known as IndARC in Kongsfjordan fjord since July 2014.
India’s research in the Arctic Region is conducted, coordinated, and promoted by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Goa. It comes under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.