Union Minister of Earth Sciences Kiren Rijiju marked a significant milestone as he initiated India's inaugural winter expedition to the Arctic on Monday (18 December), affirming the country's dedication to conducting yearly missions to the polar region.
The announcement was made during a ceremony at Prithvi Bhavan in Delhi.
Rijiju emphasised, "the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) will ensure necessary budgetary support, administrative assistance, and allocations for these annual Arctic expeditions," as reported by Indian Express.
Since 2007, India has been actively involved in summer expeditions to the Arctic and established the permanent research base, Himadri, in Svalbard, Norway, in 2008.
The four-member team, including first-time Arctic explorers Athulya R, Girish B S, Prashant Rawat and Surendra Singh, will be stationed at the Himadri research base.
In a noteworthy development, the Norwegian government has also extended logistical support for the expedition.
Expressing gratitude for Norway's support, Rijiju underscored the significance of India maintaining a year-round presence in the Arctic.
He also highlighted the pivotal role of scientists and young students in contributing to India's development.
Previously, India had actively participated in Arctic research, becoming part of the Svalbard Integrated Arctic Earth Observing System in 2019 and assuming the role of an 'Observer' in the Arctic Circle Assembly since 2013.
Nayan Dwivedi is Staff Writer at Swarajya.
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