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Indian Antarctic Program

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The Indian Antarctic Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional program under the control of the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India It was initiated in 1981 with the first Indian expedition to Antarctica The program gained global acceptance with India's signing of the Antarctic Treaty and subsequent construction of the Dakshin Gangotri Antarctic research base in 1983, superseded by the Maitri base from 1990 The newest base commissioned in 2015 is Bharati, constructed out of 134 shipping containers Under the program, atmospheric, biological, earth, chemical, and medical sciences are studied by India, which has carried out 30 scientific expeditions to the Antarctic as of 14 October 2010


  • 1 History
  • 2 India and Antarctic Treaty
  • 3 Organization
  • 4 Global cooperation
  • 5 Research
  • 6 Research stations
    • 61 Dakshin Gangotri
    • 62 Maitri
    • 63 Bharati
  • 7 Indian Antarctic expeditions
  • 8 Notes
  • 9 References
  • 10 External links


The origin of Indian missions to the Antarctic are traced to the joint Indian Space Research Organisation – Hydrometeorological Centre of Russia agreements, which led to Indians, such as Dr Paramjit Singh Sehra, joining the 17th Soviet Antarctic expedition of 1971–1973

India and Antarctic Treaty

Antarctic Treaty System:  signatory, consulting, territorial claim  signatory, consulting, reserved right for territorial claim  signatory, consulting  signatory, acceding status  non-signatory

India officially acceded to the Antarctic Treaty System on 1 August 1983 On 12 September 1983, the country became the fifteenth Consultative Member of the Antarctic Treaty


The National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research—a research and development body functioning under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India—controls the Indian Antarctic program The NCAOR and the Department of Ocean Development select the members for India's Antarctic expeditions After medical tests and subsequent acclimatization training at the Himalayas, these selected members are also trained in survival, environment ethics, firefighting and operating in a group

One expedition costs up to ₹200 million US$31 million Logistical support to the various activities of the Indian Antarctic program is provided by the relevant branches of the Indian armed forces The launching point of Indian expeditions has varied from Goa in India to Cape Town in South Africa on 19th expedition during the time of NCAOR Founding Director Dr P C Pandey in December 1999 Over 70 institutes in India contributed to its Antarctic program as of 2007

Global cooperation

The Indian Antarctic program is bound by the rules of the Antarctic Treaty System, which India signed in 1983 Pandey 2007 outlines the various international activities that India has undertaken as a part of its Antarctic program:

On 12 September 1983, India achieved the status of Consultative Party, on 1 October became a member of Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research SCAR, and in 1986 became a member of the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources CCAMLR In 1997 India also ratified the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty thus reaffirming India's commitment to protecting the Antarctic environment India hosted the eleventh COMNAP/SCALOP Standing Committee on Antarctic Logistics and Operations meeting in Goa in 1999, and the working group meeting on eco-system monitoring and management of CCAMLR in August 1998 at Cochin India occupied the CCAMLR chair beginning in November 1998 for a period of 2 years

India also collaborates with the international community as a member of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Regional Committee of Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission in Coastal Indian Ocean IOCINDIO, International Seabed Authority ISBA, and the State Parties of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas UNCLOS


Krill distribution on a NASA SeaWIFS image – the main concentrations are in the Scotia Sea at the Antarctic Peninsula India carries out krill exploration in the Southern Ocean region of the Antarctic

Antarctic holds scientific interest for global research projects due to a number of reasons:'Origin of continents, climate change, meteorology and pollution' are among the reasons cited by SD Gad 2008 Mrinalini G Walawalkar 2005 holds that:'ice–ocean interaction and the global processes; paleoenvironment and paleoclimatic studies; geological evolution of earth and Gondwanaland reconstruction; Antarctic ecosystems, biodiversity and environment physiology; solar terrestrial processes and their coupling; medical physiology, adaptation techniques and human psychology; environment impact assessment and monitoring; enabling low temperature technology development; and studies on earthquakes' are among the areas of study under the Indian Antarctic program

Close to 1,300 Indians had been to the continent as of 2001 as a part of the country's Antarctic program Indian expeditions to the Antarctic also study the fauna and the molecular biodiversity of the region A total of 120 new microbes had been discovered as a result of international scientific effort in the Antarctic by 2005 30 of these microbes had been discovered by Indian scientists India has also published over 300 research publications based on Antarctic studies as of 2007

The 'ice cores' retrieved by drilling holes in Antarctic's vast ice-sheets yield information 'on the palaeoclimate and eco-history of the earth as records of wind-blown dust, volcanic ash or radioactivity are preserved in the ice as it gets accumulated over time' The NCAOR developed a polar research & development laboratory with a 'low-temperature laboratory complex at −20 °C for preservation and analysis of ice core and snow samples' according to SD Gad 2008 The 'ice core' samples are held, processed, and analyzed in containment units designed by such technology Storage cases made of poly propylene also ensure that the samples do not alter characteristics and are preserved for analysis in the form that they were recovered

Research stations

In 1981 the Indian flag unfurled for the first time in Antarctica, marking the start of Southern Ocean expeditions under the environmental protocol of the Antarctic Treaty 1959

Dakshin Gangotri

Main article:Dakshin Gangotri

The first permanent settlement was built in 1983 and named Dakshin Gangotri In 1989 it was excavated and is being used again as supply base and transit camp


Main article:Maitri

The second permanent settlement, Maitri, was put up in 1989 on the Schirmacher Oasis and has been conducting experiments in geology, geography and medicine India built a freshwater lake around Maitri known as Lake Priyadarshini Maitri accomplished the mission of geomorphologic mapping of Schirmacher Oasis


Main article:Bharati

Located beside Larsmann Hill at 69°S, 76°E, Bharati is established in 2015 This newest research station for oceanographic research will collect evidence of continental breakup to reveal the 120-million-year-old ancient history of the Indian subcontinent In news sources this station was variously spelled "Bharathi", "Bharti" and "Bharati"

Indian Antarctic expeditions

Lieutenant Ram Charan, an Indian Navy meteorologist, was the first Indian to visit the Antarctica, in the South Pole, when he accompanied an Australian polar expedition in 1960 He died in a road accident in 1961

DateExpeditionLeaderDeputy Leader
1981–1982First Indian Expedition to AntarcticaDr Sayed Zahoor QasimC P Vohra, H N Siddiquie
1982–1983Second Indian Expedition to AntarcticaV K RainaDr C R Sreedharan
1983–1985Third Indian Expedition to AntarcticaDr Harsh K GuptaLieutenant Colonel Satya Swarup Sharma
1984Fourth Indian Expedition to AntarcticaDr BB BhattacharyaMr DK Pande
Fifth Indian Expedition to AntarcticaMr MK Kaul
Sixth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Seventh Indian Expedition to Antarctica
1988–1990Eighth Indian Expedition to AntarcticaDr Amitava Sen GuptaCol S Jagannathan
1989–1991Ninth Indian Expedition to AntarcticaRasik Ravindra
1990–1992Tenth Indian Expedition to AntarcticaA K Hanjura
1991–1993Eleventh Indian Expedition to AntarcticaDr Mukherjee
Twelfth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Thirteenth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Fourteenth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Fifteenth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Sixteenth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Seventeenth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Eighteenth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Nineteenth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Twentieth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
2002–2003Twenty first Indian Expedition to AntarcticaShri R P Lal
Twenty Second Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Twenty third Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Twenty fourth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Twenty fifth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Twenty sixth Indian Expedition to Antarctica
Twenty seventh Indian Expedition to Antarctica
2008–2009Twenty eighth Indian Expedition to AntarcticaDr P MalhotraAjay Dhar
2009–2010Twenty ninth Indian Expedition to AntarcticaP ElangoRajesh Asthana
2010–2011Thirtieth Indian Expedition to AntarcticaK JeevaRajesh Asthana
2011–2012Thirty first Indian Expedition to AntarcticaDr Rupesh M Das Bharati & Shree Uttam Chand MaitriRajesh Asthana
2013–2015Thirty third Indian Expedition to AntarcticaMohd Yunus Shah


  1. ^ a b Walawalkar 2015, Gad 2008
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Pandey 2007
  3. ^ Department of Ocean Development, Government of India Annual Report 1983-1984, TECHNICAL PUBLICATION NO 3, Printed at Dee Kay Printers Kirtinagar, New Delhi
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Gad 2008
  5. ^ Pursuit and Promotion of Science – The Indian Experience 2001, 351
  6. ^ a b c d Walawalkar 2005
  7. ^ a b Pursuit and Promotion of Science – The Indian Experience 2001, 352
  8. ^ Pursuit and Promotion of Science – The Indian Experience 2001, 173
  9. ^ Pursuit and Promotion of Science – The Indian Experience 2001, 213
  10. ^ The Hindu :Tamil Nadu / Cuddalore News :Third Antarctica research station by 2011
  11. ^ "Bharti to be 3rd Indian station in Antarctica", The Times of India, 6 August 2009
  12. ^ The Hindu News Update Service


  • Gad, S D 2008, "India in the Antarctic", Current Science, 95 2:151, Bangalore:Indian Academy of Sciences
  • Pandey, PC 2007 in "India:Antarctic Program", Encyclopedia of the Antarctic edited by Beau Riffenburgh, pp 529–530, Abingdon and New York:Taylor & Francis, ISBN 0-415-97024-5
  • Pursuit and Promotion of Science – The Indian Experience 2001, New Delhi:Indian National Science Academy
  • Walawalkar, M G 2005, "Antarctica and Arctic:India's contribution", Current Science, 685, Bangalore:Indian Academy of Science
  • "Scientific Report of First Indian Expedition to Antartica" PDF Department of Ocean Development, Government of India 2016 

External links

  • National Centre for Antarctic & Ocean Research NCAOR, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India

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