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India’s Arctic Policy

Introduction


'India and the Arctic: Building a Partnership for Sustainable Development,'


India's Arctic policy, lays out 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. Multiple stakeholders, including academia, the research community, business, and industry, will be involved in implementing India's Arctic policy.



India has a large stake in the Arctic. It is one of thirteen countries with Observer status in the Arctic Council, a high-level intergovernmental forum that addresses issues confronting Arctic governments and indigenous peoples. India's involvement in the Arctic region has been consistent and multifaceted. The country maintains that all human activity should be sustainable, responsible, transparent, and based on respect for international laws.



The following is the goal of India's Arctic policy:


  • 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.


Conclusion


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 has scientific, environmental, economic, and strategic interests in the Arctic. As a result, India's engagement with the Arctic region has been consistent and holistic over the decades.

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