Polar Expeditions - Antarctica


The importance of Antarctica as a pedestal for front-ranking scientific research was recognized by Indian way back in 1981 itself, when the first Indian Scientific Expedition to Antarctica was launched. Since then, India has made great strides in initiating scientific projects of both national and global relevance as well as in catering to the entire gamut of complex logistics operations called for, in the Annual Expeditions to Antarctica. Experiments mounted by Indian scientists in such disciplines as atmospheric sciences & meteorology, earth sciences and glaciology, biology and environmental sciences have also contributed directly to global experiments mounted under the aegis of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR). The Indian research station Maitri has also served as a platform for collaborative studies with some Antarctic Treaty nations i.e. Germany, Italy, France, Poland and the United States of America. It has also facilitated scientists from Malaysia, Columbia, Peru and Mauritius to work in Antarctica.

Some of the noteworthy accomplishments of Indian scientific community in Antarctica are:

  1. Identification of a number of new species of bacteria from the cold habitats of Antarctica- 30 out of 240 new species discovered so far have been by Indian scientists.
  2. Identification of new genes from the bacteria as genes required for the survival of bacteria at low temperature.
  3. Identification of a number of lipases and proteases active at low temperatures and useful for the biotechnology industry.
  4. Preparation of comprehensive geological and geomorphological maps of the Schirmacher Oasis.
  5. Studies of cold adaptability of human beings in the harsh environment of Antarctica which have provided significant baseline data for use in similar studies on India’s armed forces serving in the Himalaya.

a) Objectives:

  1. Continuation of the scientific programs in the Antarctica in the fields of atmospheric sciences, climate change, geoscience and glaciology, human physiology and medicine, polar biology and environmental science.
  2. Initiating novel programmes in the frontier realms of polar science, viz. Assessment of microbial diversity in Arctic and Antarctic: Past and Present; Environmental monitoring and health of the Indian Antarctic Stations in pursuit of Antarctica-Treaty-System and its governance; Long-term monitoring and modeling of precipitation over Antarctica; and Satellite-based monitoring Antarctic sea ice and land ice topography, with special focus on glaciers.
  3. Ensuring a prominent and sustained presence of India in the Antarctica through initiation of scientific research in some of the frontier realms of polar science including paleo-climate reconstruction from the Antarctic coastal water.
  4. Continue to play a lead role amongst the nations with a sustained presence in Antarctica.

b) Participating Institutions:

National Centre for Polar & Ocean Research, Goa

c) Implementation Plan:

As in the previous years, all the aspects related the planning, co-ordnation and implementation of the scientific and logistics aspects related to the Indian Scientific Expeditions to Antarctica shall be undertaken by NCPOR on behalf of the Ministry. The science component of the work programme would a multi-institutional national endeavor with the involvement of scientists from all major national institutions, laboratories and Universities with a sustained interest in the polar realm.

d) Deliverables:

The scientific studies proposed and being carried out by Indian scientists in Antarctica will be contributing significantly to the global community’s ongoing efforts in understanding the climate change phenomena. In addition, the studies would be providing a wealth of data in such diverse but inter-related fields as earth sciences, biology, atmospheric sciences and climatology.

e) Budget Requirement : 733.00 crores

(Rs. In crores)

Budget Requirement
Name of the Scheme2012-132013-142014-152015-162016-17Total
Polar Expedition - Antarctica153.00155.00140.00142.00143.00733.00


Last Updated On 08/14/2018 - 11:59
Back to Top