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India’s Arctic Policy


Representational Image: Courtesy Wix

India's Arctic policy titled 'India and the Arctic: building a partnership for sustainable development’ lays down six pillars: strengthening India's scientific research and cooperation, climate and environmental protection, economic and human development, transportation and connectivity, governance and international cooperation, and national capacity building in the Arctic region. Implementing India's Arctic policy will involve multiple stakeholders, including academia, the research community, business, and industry.


India has a significant stake in the Arctic. It is one of thirteen nations holding Observer status in the Arctic Council, a high-level intergovernmental forum that addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments and the indigenous people of the Arctic. India's engagement with the Arctic region has been consistent and multidimensional. The country maintains that all human activity should be sustainable, responsible, transparent, and based on respect for international laws.


India's Arctic policy aims to promote the following agenda—


Strengthening national capabilities and competencies in science and exploration, climate and environmental protection, maritime and economic cooperation with the Arctic region. Institutional and human resource capacities will be strengthened within Government and academic, research and business institutions.


Inter-ministerial coordination in pursuit of India's interests in the Arctic.


Enhancing understanding of the impact of climate change in the Arctic on India's climate, economic, and energy security.


Contributing better analysis, prediction, and coordinated policymaking on the implications of ice melting in the Arctic on India's economic, military and strategic interests related to global shipping routes, energy security, and exploitation of mineral wealth.


Studying linkages between polar regions and the Himalayas.


Deepen cooperation between India and countries of the Arctic region under various Arctic forums, drawing expertise from scientific and traditional knowledge.


Increase India’s participation in the Arctic Council and improve understanding of the complex governance structures in the Arctic, relevant international laws, and geopolitics of the region.


Implementing India's Arctic policy will involve multiple stakeholders, including academia, the research community, business, and industry. It shall define timelines, prioritise activities and allocate requisite resources. The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) in Goa, an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, is the nodal institution for India’s Polar research programme, which includes Arctic studies.


India's Arctic policy is available on the website of the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India at (https://www.moes.gov.in).


[Extracted from https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleasePage.aspx?PRID=1806993]

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