New Delhi, July 1 : Union Minister of Science and Technology and Earth Sciences Kapil Sibal today inaugurated the Indian research base in the Arctic region.
The base to be called "Himadri" and equipped with sate of the art facilities will be carrying out round the year scientific research in contemporary fields of Arctic Science with special emphasis on climate change.
Situated at 78055' N, 11056'E, Ny-Alesund is only 1200 kilometres from the North Pole and offers the ideal land-based entrance to the Arctic.
The whole Svalbard archipelago is part of the high Arctic region with permafrost - which means that the ground is frozen all year round.
The vegetation in the area varies from sparse ground cover to the meadows like vegetation of the bird sanctuaries. 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, climate change monitoring.
The National Centre will manage 'Himadri' for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
This premier polar institute based in Goa has been coordinating entire gamut of Antarctic research for the country. Withthe opening of 'Himadri' India has become the tenth country to establish its full-fledged research station at Ny-Alesund.
While inaugurating the research base 'Himadri' the minister expressed happiness that 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 one year.
The inaugural function at Ny-Alesund was attended by Dr. Annette Schavan, Federal Minister of Germany Tora Aasland, Norwegian Minister Christian Gaudin, the French Senator besides many eminent polar scientists, diplomats and policy makers of various countries.
On this occasion a Memorandum of Understanding on Polar research was also signed between the NCAOR and Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI).