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Home > News > Report

India to set foot on the Arctic for first time

August 03, 2007 13:02 IST

For the first time, India is setting its foot on the Arctic, the icy continent in the extreme north of the globe, in its quest for unlocking the secrets of life and the environment around.

A five-member team of inter-disciplinary scientists, led by the director of the prestigious National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Science Dr Rasik Ravindra at Vasco-da-Gama in Goa [Images], will leave for Norway from New Delhi early on Saturday.

Informed sources told UNI the scientists will reach the research base -- Nyalesund, situated 1200 km from North Pole and 79 degrees north of the equator among a group of islands called Svalbard.

They will reach the place from Oslo via London [Images] and camp there for about a month to undertake experiments on climate changes, earth sciences and microbiology.

The expedition is being undertaken in collaboration with Norway under the ''Svalbard Treaty'' signed in the 1920's. It might be recalled that the union ministry of Earth Sciences had given the green signal to scientists to undertake the Arctic Expedition last year as NCAOR celebrated its silver jubilee of the Indian Expedition to the Antarctica.

It had also decided to explore the Southern Ocean even as several countries continued their expeditions for many years both in the Arctic and the Southern Ocean, revealing startling information on bi-polar sciences.

Negotiations with the Centre were still underway on its expedition to the Southern Ocean, which will be undertaken after acquiring what was termed as ''ice-class vessel'' of our own instead of depending on Russia [Images] and other countries for such expeditions in the icy continent.

The debut Arctic Expedition by Indian scientists was expected to enrich the treasure of knowledge on polar sciences, which provide a key to secrets of the origin of the earth and the life around, scientists said.

The other scientists of the expedition team, apart from Dr Ravindra included Dr S Shivaji, deputy director, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, Dr Dhruva Sen Singh of the university of Lucknow, Dr S M Singh of NCAOR and Dr C G Deshpande, IITM, Pune.

Meanwhile, buoyed by the Larsemann Bay site clearance for locating the third Antarctic Research Base Station, 600 km east of the present site Maitri in Antarctica, the NCAOR scientists had now been engaged in 'baseline data' collection. It might be recalled that India had hosted for the first time the high-level Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting in New Delhi last April.

It had given clearance to the proposed site for building the third research station in Antarctica, which could come up in two years once the work begins.

The scientists, however, continued to collect various data on biology, geology, lake sediments and geographical mapping at the Larsemann Bay.