India in Arctic

India is the most recent country to commence Arctic research as it established its Arctic research station as recently as 2008. India’s Arctic programme aims to contribute to the development, consolidation and dissemination of the current understanding of climate change, its impacts and adaptations in the Norwegian Arctic, Svalbard. India’s Arctic research includes atmospheric, biological, marine and earth sciences and glaciological studies. The  atmospheric research encompasses investigations into aerosols and precursor gases with respect to their radiative,  physical-chemical  and  optical  properties  and  studies  of  the  effects  of   space  weather  on  the  auroral  ionosphere.  Biological  studies  include  sea-ice  microbial  communities;  and  in  marine  research, phytoplankton pigments, nutrients, pH, DO, sea-water salinity  and other ecological parameters have  been  investigated.  Earth sciences  and  glaciological  observations  include  studies  of  snow-pack production  of  carbon  monoxide  and  its  diurnal  variability.


The Indian scientific endeavours in the Arctic realm commenced when a five-member scientific team visited Ny-Ålesund on the Svalbard archipelago of Norway during the summer of 2007. India leased a station building at Ny-Ålesund from Kings Bay AS which owns and manages the facilities at the International Research Base.  The Indian station 'Himadri' was inaugurated on 1st July, 2008 by Shri. KapilSibal the-then Hon. Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, in the presence of dignitaries from Norway, UK, Germany and other countries besides India.


Considering the immense scope for scientific research, NCAOR, as the nodal agency for the Indian Arctic Programme entered into a MoU with the Norwegian Polar Institute for scientific co-operation in Polar Sciences.  Subsequent to the successful achievements of first year in Arctic science, India's proposal to become a member of the Ny-Ålesund Science Managers Committee (NySMAC) was accepted in November 2008. The major role of NySMAC is to enhance cooperation and coordination amongst research activities at the Ny-Ålesund International Arctic Research and Monitoring Facility. ShriPrithvirajChavan, the-then Hon. Minister of Science and Technology, together with Ms. ToraAasland, Hon. Minister of Research and Higher Education of Norway, led a high-level delegation to Ny-Ålesundon 6th June 2010.  At HIMADRI, both the Ministers formally launched the Indian Arctic web portal.Major developments of Indian Arctic programme were laid in the year 2013, when India received the permanent observer status in the Arctic Council during the meeting of the Arctic Council in Kiruna, Sweden with the efforts of the then Foreign Minister Mr. Salman Khurshid.


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