25 September, 2020

OPINION | 'In Deep Freeze? From Fish To Hydrocarbons, India Have A Lot To Claim In Antarctica'

While India has no territorial claims over Antarctica, strategic and geopolitical interests over the two polar areas of the world cannot be ruled out, feels Rasik Ravindra

Photograph by AP/PTI
OPINION | 'In Deep Freeze? From Fish To Hydrocarbons, India Have A Lot To Claim In Antarctica'

India’s interest in Antarctica dates back to 1956, when it raised the issue of Antarctic continent under Provisional agenda at the UN General Assembly and pitched for its status as a natural heritage. Its maiden expedition to Antarctica in 1981-82, therefore, was welcomed by a select club of nations party to the Antarctic Treaty, with 12 original signatories (Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, USSR, UK and US, signed at Washington on December 1, 1959). The Treaty recognises that it is in the interest of all mankind that “Antarctica shall continue forever to be used exclusively for peaceful purposes and shall not become the scene or object of international discord”.

Today, the Antarctic Treaty has 53 nations, 29 of which have consultative (voting) status. Soon after it commissioned its first permanent research base at Dakshin Gan­gotri in 1983, India was granted the status in the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Committee Meetings (ATCM) that take policy decisions over running the scientific and...



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