Assessment on India's involvement and capacity-building in Arctic Science
at : Mar 08, 2021 17:05:22  (view:479)

Assessment on India's involvement and capacity-building in Arctic Science

Nikhil PAREEK*

Department of Defense and National Security Studies, Panjab University, Chandigarh 160014, India

*Corresponding author, E-mail: nikhilginni@gmail.com

Abstract India became an observer in Arctic Council in 2013 and has three research stations operational in the poles, including ‘Maitri’ commissioned in 1989 and ’Bharati’ commissioned in 2012 at Antarctic and ‘Himadri’ at Arctic. Though the Government of India has consistently been extending full support to the research endeavors yet the same is bogged by inadequate research output, lack of dedicated polar research vessel and other bureaucratic bottlenecks. A massive void in the Indian scientific pursuits is that India does not possess a polar research vessel or an icebreaker and has to rely on chartered vessels, seriously limiting its research timeframe as well as huge economic drain and thus compromising the scientific research. This cleft in the professed research narrative despite having a physical presence for over 3 decades in the polar regions and the proposal for acquisition of a polar research vessel having been approved in Jun 2010 yet the same is yet to be operationalized which is seriously impinging the scientific research as well as the professed commitment to Arctic research. The scientific pursuits can also propel the strategic engagement in the region to greater levels by extensive collaboration and cooperation with several other nations present there. Indian attempts so far have remained acutely short of the promise and India should build on its strengths for obtaining a leadership position in this strategically vital and economically lucrative region.

Keywords  Arctic, India, MOSAiC, Polar Research Vessel (PRV), scientific research, station