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India unveils Arctic Policy with focus on climate change: 10 things to know

The government on Thursday unveiled India’s Arctic Policy with an aim to combat climate change and protect the environment. Titled ‘India and the Arctic: building a partnership for sustainable development’, it was unveiled by earth sciences minister Jitendra Singh. India holds one of the 13 positions as the Observer in the Arctic Council.

Here’s all that you need to know:

1. India’s engagement with the Arctic began when it signed the Svalbard Treaty in February 1920 in Paris between Norway, the US, Denmark, France, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Ireland, and the British overseas Dominions and Sweden concerning Spitsbergen. Ever since then, India has been closely monitoring all the developments in the Arctic region.

2. India initiated its Arctic research program in 2007 with a focus on climate change in the region. The objectives included studying teleconnections between Arctic climate and Indian monsoon, to characterize sea ice in the Arctic using satellite data, to estimate the effect on global warming.

3. India also focuses on conducting research on the dynamics and mass budget of Arctic glaciers and sea-level changes, carrying out an assessment of the flora and fauna of the Arctic.

4. The relevance of the Arctic for India can be explained under scientific research, climate change, environment, economic and human resources, geopolitical and strategic resources.

5. The Arctic currently has 13 observers and is open to non-governmental organizations, non-littoral states, intergovernmental organizations, and inter-parliamentary organizations.

6. India’s Arctic policy aims to enhance the country’s cooperation with the Arctic. It also seeks to combat climate change, as the rapidly-transforming region is warning three times faster.

Also read: Half the world threatened by climate crisis: Latest IPCC report

7. The Indian Arctic policy is built on six central pillars: science and research, environmental protection, economic and human development, transportation and connectivity, governance and international cooperation, and national capacity building.

8. The Arctic region is significant due to the shipping routes that run through it.

9. According to an analysis published by the Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, the adverse effects of the Arctic are not just impacting the availability of mineral and hydrocarbon resources, but also transforming global shipping routes.

10. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, India can play a constructive role in securing a stable Arctic.

Read more: Mix modern science, indigenous wisdom to mitigate climate crisis

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