Union Minister for Earth Science Dr Harsh Vardhan virtually represented India in the 3rd Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM3) 2021 held in Tokyo, Japan from May 8-9, 2021, it was jointly organized by Iceland & Japan. The ASM3 2021 is the 1st meeting to be held in Asia.
- The theme for 2021 is ‘Knowledge for a Sustainable Arctic’.
- ASM is a global platform for discussing research and cooperation in the Arctic region, it is an event initiated by the Arctic Council, a high-level intergovernmental forum.
- The previous editions of ASM were held in the United States (US) in 2016 & Germany in 2018.
India’s vision & long-term plans for the Arctic region
Dr Harsh Vardhan shared India’s vision and long-term plans for research, work, and cooperation in the Arctic region.
i.India aims to contribute to the observing systems in the Arctic through both in-situ (onsite) and remote sensing ways.
- It is set to deploy open ocean mooring in the Arctic for long-term monitoring of upper ocean variables and marine meteorological parameters.
- India is also set to launch ‘NISAR’ (NASA ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) in collaboration with the US, it will help in conducting global measurements of the cause and consequences of land surface changes using advanced radar imaging.
- India will also continue to contribute to the Sustained Arctic Observational Network (SAON).
ii.Observations of Arctic warming and its ice melt are necessary from India’s point of view as there is growing evidence of a connection between the Arctic and the Indian Ocean (which modulates the Indian monsoon).
iii.Harsh Vardhan proposed that India be given an opportunity to host the next ASM or future ASM.
iv.India’s engagement with the Arctic began in 1920 with the signing of the Svalbard Treaty in Paris, France.
- India’s research activities in the Arctic region are coordinated & conducted by National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
- It has a permanent research station in the Arctic called ‘Himadri’ in Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway.
- Himadri is India’s first permanent Arctic research station.
- It has deployed a multi-sensor moored observatory called IndARC in Kongsfjorden fjord since July 2014.
i.It addresses issues faced by Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic. It was established in 1996.
- Members: 8 – Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the US.
- Observer States: 13 – India (since 2013), Japan, China, France, Germany, UK, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Netherlands, Singapore, and South Korea.
Recent Related News:
i.August 5, 2020, According to a study by the University of Toronto Scarborough, Polar bears in the Arctic could become extinct by 2100.
About Arctic Council
Chair of the Arctic Council (2019-21) – Iceland
Headquarters – Tromso, Norway