Geologists and scientists, world over have been fascinated by Antarctica for several reasons. It is believed the continent played a major in the origin of continents and also holds the key to climate change, pollution and meteorology. Many countries have sent scientific teams to study the climate, environment and the flora and fauna in Antarctica, and India is one of them. :
The Indian Antarctic Program
The Indian Antarctic Program was established in 1981 under the aegis of the Government of India, Ministry of Earth Sciences and the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research. This was also the year when the first Indian expedition reached the South Pole.
In 1983, India became a signatory of the Antarctic Treaty and this led to the setting up of a permanent Indian research base on the continent which was aptly named Dakshin Gangotri. In 1990, another base named Maitri was set up. The Indian Antarctic Program is a research-based program responsible for studying earth, chemical, atmospheric, medical and biological sciences on the continent.
The Programmed is controlled by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, which along with the Department of Ocean Development selects the members for the expeditions. India has conducted about 30 scientific expeditions to Antarctica; and plans are afoot to set up another research base named Bharathi.
India’s Antarctic Connection
Every member of an expedition undergoes stringent medical tests and after successfully passing these tests, the member is sent to the Himalayas for further training. Here members are initially acclimatized and then trained in the fields of environment ethics, survival, working together in a group and firefighting.
The expeditions are launched either from Goa, India or from Cape Town, South Africa. Logistical support for expeditions is provided by the Indian Armed Forces.
India is one of the few nations in the world with multiple research bases in Antarctica. It has shown that it also can do the impossible by showing its presence in the coldest regions on the planet. Advanced technology has been installed in camps there, where scientists perform the research work for keeping climatic conditions updated. Other environmental issues that are based on the Antarctic regions are also kept into consideration so that there are no environmental issues.
India as surely achieved a lot in the past few decades and has proven that it is surely not going to be let out when it comes to research work. The permanent establishment of base at the Antarctica has been a glorious achievement by the country to show its worth. The research that is performed here will help for the betterment of the environment and the society in the future.
That is why highly proficient scientists are chosen for the job that also has to endure the conditions of the harsh climate there. 32 recorded expeditions have been achieved so far and more are to come. Every effort is worth the benefits as we witness developments in the various fields of Science and technology through this endurance filled expeditions.