Published on: March 18, 2022




Government of India released India’s Arctic Policy, with the aim of enhancing the country’s cooperation with the resource-rich and rapidly transforming region


  • Built on six central pillars — science and research, climate and environmental protection, economic and human development, transportation and connectivity, governance and international cooperation, and finally, national capacity building
  • Significance of Arctic – Rich in mineral and oil resources, many shipping routes that run through it
  • Adverse effects of climate change are not only impacting the availability of mineral and hydrocarbon resources but are also transforming global shipping routes
  • Documents the history of India’s relationship with the region, which can be traced back to February 1920, when it signed the Svalbard treaty in Paris
  • In 2007, India launched its first scientific expedition to the Arctic. Since then, India has been able to set up an observatory in Kongsfjorden as well as an atmospheric laboratory at Gruvebadet
  • Since 2013, India has been an Observer nation in the Arctic Council, where it has consistently participated in meetings of Senior Arctic Officials and contributed to its six Working Groups, the policy states
  • Under the banner of science and research, the Indian government hopes to build its research capabilities in the region by strengthening existing facilities, such as the Himadri Arctic station in Svalbard
  • It also hopes to align Indian research with international Arctic priorities. The policy further lays down plans to deploy space technology to better study the Arctic region
  • India also plans to study the impact of climate change in the Arctic, to improve response mechanisms across the world. It aims to offer a better analysis of the implications of ice melting in the Arctic on global shipping routes, energy security and exploitation of mineral wealth
  • It also seeks to study the linkages between polar regions and the Himalayas and deepen the cooperation between India and the countries of the Arctic region under various Arctic forums, drawing expertise from scientific and traditional knowledge.