India joined the Phase I of IODP in 2009 as an Associate Member through an MOU among National Science Foundation (NSF), USA, Japanese MEXT and Ministry of Earth Science (MoES). The MoU included provisions for Indian scientists and researchers to participate in the regular IODP expeditions around the world and get involved in the active research pertaining for the deep sea drilling.
India also became a member of Science Advisory Structure (SAS) as well as Science Planning and Implementation Committee (SIPCom) of this multi-national mission. India joined this multinational consortium till 30th September 2013. Ever since, MoES designated the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Goa as the nodal agency for all the IODP related activities in India. India, being an Associate Member, actively participated in various scientific and administrative panels of the IODP, which included Science Advisory Structure Executive Council (SASEC), International Working Group plus (IWG+), Proposal Evaluation Panel (PEP), Site Characterization Panel (SCP) and Technology Panel (TP).
A detailed Science Plan was developed by IODP-India highlighting prominent issues from the northern Indian Ocean requiring attention of the Ocean Drilling Program. In order to emphasize the need for a long term scientific ocean drilling program for the northern Indian Ocean sector, India presented a white paper during the INVEST meeting (September 2009), at the University of Bremen, Germany. Through this white paper crucial geo-scientific issues that could be addressed using ocean drilling were also highlighted.
Subsequent to the above, two parallel sessions exclusively for IODP activities were organized by IODP-India at the Asia Oceania Geosciences (AOGS) Meeting, Hyderabad in 2010. The main objective of these independent sessions was to facilitate ample discussions among Indian scientific fraternity and concretize a full-fledged Indian deep sea drilling proposal. As a result, a scientific proposal for drilling in the Arabian Sea was formulated and developed at NCAOR, Goa which was submitted to IODP-MI in October 1, 2010. The Indian proposal entitled “Deep sea drilling in the Arabian Sea: Discovering the tectono-climatic unknowns” aimed at recovering deep sea cores from different sites in the Arabian Sea to obtain high resolution climate records and to reconstruct the erosion response of the Western Himalaya. The proposal approved as IODP 355 Expedition is expected to drill Mar-May 2015.
To download MoU between NSF/MEXT-MoES (Phase I) click here