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India proposes to expand research, tourism in the Arctic

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India proposes to expand research, tourism in the Arctic:


Context:

India has unveiled a new draft ‘Arctic’ policy.

India’s Arctic Policy Roadmap For Sustainable Engagement draft rides on five pillars:

  1. Science and research activities.
  2. Economic and human development cooperation.
  3. Transportation and connectivity.
  4. Governance and international cooperation.
  5. National capacity building.

Highlights of the Policy:

  1. The policy commits to expanding scientific research, “sustainable tourism” and mineral oil and gas exploration in the Arctic region.
  2. The draft spells out goals in India’s Arctic Mission such as to better understand the scientific and climate-related linkages between the Arctic and the Indian monsoons.
  3. It also seeks to harmonise polar research with the third pole (the Himalayas) and to advance the study and understanding of the Arctic within India.
  4. The policy calls for exploration opportunities for responsible exploration of natural resources and minerals from the Arctic and identifying opportunities for investment in Arctic infrastructure in areas such as “offshore exploration/mining, ports, railways and airports.

Arctic region:

  • 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. The region is home to almost four million inhabitants, of which, about one-tenth are indigenous people.

India’s engagement in the Arctic:

  • India already has a research station in the Arctic, Himadri, for the research work.
  • India received the ‘Observer’ country status in the Arctic Council in 2013 and is one among the 13 countries across the world, including China, to have that position. The status was renewed in 2018.

Significance of arctic study for India:

  • Though none of India’s territory directly falls in the Arctic region, it is a crucial area as the Arctic influences atmospheric, oceanographic and biogeochemical cycles of the earth’s ecosystem.
  • Due to climate change, the region faces the loss of sea ice, ice caps, and warming of the ocean which in turn impacts the global climate.
  • The frigid Arctic, which keeps losing ice due to global warming, is one of the batteries feeding the variations in Indian monsoons.

InstaLinks:

Prelims Link:

  1. About Himadri.
  2. India’s research stations at Arctic and Antarctica.
  3. About Arctic Council.
  4. Overview of India’s draft ‘Arctic’ policy.

Mains Link:

The frigid Arctic, which keeps losing ice due to global warming, is one of the batteries feeding the variations in Indian monsoons. Discuss.

Sources: the Hindu.