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INDIA HAS UNVEILED A NEW DRAFT ‘ARCTIC’ POLICY

INDIA HAS UNVEILED A NEW DRAFT ‘ARCTIC’ POLICY

Context

Recently, India has unveiled a new draft ‘Arctic’ policy which will expand scientific research, mineral oil and gas exploration and sustainable tourism in the Arctic region.

Details

  • Five pillars of India’s Arctic policy: scientific research, economics and human development; connectivity; global governance and international cooperation; and development of Indian human resource capabilities.
  • India seeks to play a constructive role in the Arctic by leveraging its vast scientific pool and expertise in Himalayan and Polar research.
  • India has designated Goa-based National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research to lead scientific research and act as a nodal body to coordinate among various scientific bodies to promote domestic scientific research capacities in the Arctic.
  • India also aims to contribute to ensuring that as the Arctic becomes more accessible, its resources are harnessed sustainably and in consonance with best practices formulated by bodies such as the Arctic Council.
  • India had become an Observer in the Arctic Council for the first time in 2013 and its membership was renewed for another five-year term in 2018.

About Arctic Council

  • The Arctic Council is the leading intergovernmental forum promoting cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States, Arctic Indigenous peoples and other Arctic inhabitants on common Arctic issues, in particular on issues of sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic. It was formally established in 1996.
  • The eight countries with sovereignty over the lands within the Arctic Circle constitute the members of the council: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.
  • The Ottawa Declaration defines these states as Members of the Arctic Council.

Who chairs the Arctic Council?

  • The Chairmanship of the Arctic Council rotates every two years among the Arctic States.
  • The first country to chair the Arctic Council was Canada (1996-1998), followed by the United States, Finland, Iceland, Russia, Norway, the Kingdom of Denmark, and Sweden.
  • The second cycle of Chairmanships began in 2013.
  • Iceland chairs the Arctic Council from 2019 to 2021, and the Russia Federation chairs from 2021 to 2023.

About Arctic

  • The Arctic is a polar region located at the northernmost part of Earth.
  • The Arctic consists of the Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska (United States), Canada, Finland, Greenland (Denmark), Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden.
  • Land within the Arctic region has seasonally varying snow and ice cover.

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