India has launched its inaugural winter expedition to the Arctic, marking a new milestone in the nation’s polar exploration efforts.
Union Minister of Earth Sciences, Kiren Rijiju, officially inaugurated the expedition on Monday, revealing plans for annual winter missions to the Arctic.
Addressing the flag-off ceremony in Delhi, Rijiju underscored the Ministry of Earth Sciences’ commitment to providing essential budgetary and administrative support for these winter expeditions. India, with a history of summer expeditions to the Arctic since 2007 and the establishment of the permanent research base, Himadri, in Norway in 2008, is now venturing into year-round exploration.
The winter expedition, stationed at the Himadri base, comprises a team of four members, including representatives from the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, Raman Research Institute, IIT-Mandi, and the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology. The Norwegian government has extended logistical support to the Indian team.
India’s expanded exploration into year-round Arctic missions has garnered support, with experts stressing the importance of studying the Arctic-Indian monsoon relationship.
Despite India’s geographical distance from the Arctic, polar region changes have direct impact on its climate, particularly the behavior of the Indian monsoon. The decision to extend scientific activities to winter reflects India’s commitment to advancing research capabilities in polar regions.