India's Arctic Policy released
GS Paper - 3 (Environment)
With a significant stake in the Arctic region, India is one of the 13 nations holding Observer status in the Arctic Council, a high-level inter-governmental forum that addresses issues faced by the Arctic government and the indigenous people of the region. On 18 March 2022, the Centre released its Arctic policy titled 'India and the Arctic: building a partnership for sustainable development'.
The 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
- Inter-ministerial coordination in pursuit of India's interests in the Arctic
- Enhancing understanding of the impact of climate change in the Arctic region 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 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.
- The policy document 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.