India Seeks Increased Participation in Arctic Council

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India Seeks Increased Participation in Arctic Council

Representational Image (Reuters Photo)

New Delhi:  India has favoured increased cooperation in the Arctic Council in view of the geo-strategic importance of the Arctic Sea and the region's important role in governing climate change that has global consequences.

The Arctic Council is a high-level inter-governmental forum that addresses issues faced by the Arctic governments.

India along with some other Asian countries in 2013 were given permanent observer's status in the Arctic Council.

"India would like to seek an increased participation in the Arctic Council. We realise that the Arctic holds special importance for its role in governing climate change.

"As one of the leading members in scientific research, India has a lot to offer," Science and Technology Minister Harsh Vardhan said addressing a seminar on 'Arctic: Science and Strategy Come Face to Face'.

He said the opening of the northern sea route during summer is likely to emerge as a major shipping lane in future with the possibility of finding vast amount of hydro-carbon resources in the Arctic circle.

The Arctic sea melt also has a scientific, economic as well as geo-political dimensions, he observed.

The Arctic region is also of special significance to the Indian sub-continent as several studies indicate as apparent link between the polar atmospheric processes and the Indian monsoon intensity.

"Though such tele-connections are a matter of academic debate, a comprehensive understanding of the Arctic is therefore of special importance for monsoon-dependent agrarian economy like ours," he said.

The Minister's speech was read out by Science and Technology Secretary Shailesh Nayak.

India's engagement with the Arctic dates back to nine decades when it signed the Svalbard Treaty in 1920. It is a member of the International Arctic Science Committee.

Indian station 'Himadri' acts as a research base in the region and from the initial days of its engagement with the Arctic, Noway has been at the forefront in collaborating with the Indian scientists on variety of scientific activities.

Listing the several scientific engagements with Norway, Mr Vardhan hoped to see many such joint initiatives in the frontier realms of polar science and said he "would like to assure government's whole-hearted support for all such endeavours".

He also urged upon the scientists of both the nations to come together and develop long-term scientific programmes that address issues of climate change.

The Minister suggested annual or bi-annual Indo-Norwegian scientific workshop where thematic areas of collaborative research could be identified and concretised.

On the occasion, he launched a book on 'Arctic: Commerce, Governance and Policy'.
 

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