India’s Arctic Policy aims to enhance the country’s cooperation with the resource-rich and rapidly transforming Arctic region. The policy also seeks to combat climate change and protect the environment in the region, which is warming three times faster than the rest of the world. It was released by the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
Objectives of Arctic policy
- To strengthen national capabilities and competencies in science and exploration, climate and environmental protection, maritime and economic cooperation with the Arctic region.
- To strengthen institutional and human resource capacities within the government and academic, research and business institutions through inter-ministerial coordination in pursuit of India’s interests in the Arctic.
- To enhance understanding of the impact of climate change in the Arctic region on India’s climate, economic, and energy security.
- To promote 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.
Significance of policy
- India has so far sent 13 expeditions to the Arctic since 2007 and runs 23 active science projects. About 25 institutes and universities are currently involved in Arctic research in India and close to a hundred peer-reviewed papers have been published on Arctic issues since 2007 according to the Ministry of Science and Technology.
- The Arctic region is significant due to the shipping routes that run through it. According to an analysis published by the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, the adverse effects of the Arctic are impacting the availability of mineral and hydrocarbon resources, as well as transforming global shipping routes.
- India can also play a constructive role in securing the stable Arctic. The region holds immense geopolitical importance as the Arctic is projected to be ice-free by 2050 and world powers making attempts to exploit the region rich in natural resources.
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