India's first research centre in the Arctic

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New Delhi, July 1 (UNI) India today opened its first research centre in the Arctic-- Himadri-- to carry out round-the-year scientific research in contemporary fields of Arctic Science with special emphasis on climate change.

The centre, equipped with the state-of-the-art facilities, was inaugurated by Earth Sciences Minister Kapil Sibal at Ny-Alesund, 1,200 km from the North Pole, an offical release here said.

India has thus become the 10th country to have established its full fledged-research station at Ny-Alesund.

''The Indian Arctic Programme, which started in August 2007 as a small contingent of five scientists, has expanded big enough to become a full-fledged research station in less than a year,'' Mr Sibal said at a function, attended by Norwegian Minister Christian Gaudin and German Minister Tora Aasland, besides eminent polar scientists and policy-makers from various countries.

The Current areas of research in Ny-Alesund include marine science, aurora physics, biology, glaciology, geology, environmental science, geodetic studies, rocket probe studies, atmospheric physics, terrestrial studies and climate change monitoring.

Himadri will be managed by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

The premier polar institute, based in Goa, has been coordinating the entire gamut of Antarctic research for the country.

On the occasion, a Memorandum of Understanding on Polar research was also signed between the NCAOR and Norwegian Polar Institute.

UNI YJ RL ND1730

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