Media Release on Seminar on "India’s Engagement with the Changing Arctic", 4 March 2020
Last Updated On: March 12, 2020
The Indian Council of World Affairs conducted a Seminar on India’s Engagement with the Changing Arctic on 04 March 2020.
The seminar was preceded by the 33rd Sapru House Lecture by H.E. Mr. Olafur Raganar Grimsson, former President of Iceland and Chairman of the Arctic Circle. The lecture also had remarks by Mr. Suresh Reddy, Additional Secretary (Europe), MEA, Government of India and Dr. Vijay Kumar, Scientist G/Adviser, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.
The participants of the seminar included scholars from think tanks and universities from Delhi and Bangalore. The seminar comprised of three technical sessions namely Arctic Scientific Frontiers: Regional and Global Significance, Geo-strategic Relevance of the Arctic and India’s Engagement with the Changing Arctic.
The first session was chaired by Dr. Shailesh Nayak, Director, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore. The speakers in this session included Dr. Krishnan K.P., Scientist E and Group Director (Arctic Operations), National Polar and Ocean Research Institute, Goa, Dr. A.A. Mohamed Hatha, Professor, Department of Marine Biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Cochin University of Science and Technology, Cochin and Dr. David Molden, Director General, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, Kathmandu. The session discussed the need to build an understanding of the Arctic’s biological, geophysical and chemical processes, and the interactions of ocean, land, atmosphere and biological systems. It tried to also understand the Arctic’s impact on the ‘third pole’ the Himalayas, the river systems in India and the neighbourhood.
The second session was chaired by Mr. R.R. Rashmi, Distinguished Fellow and Programme Director, Earth Science and Climate Change, TERI, New Delhi. The Speakers at the session included Captain Sarabjeet Parmar, Executive Director, National Maritime Foundation, New Delhi and Mr. H.P. Rajan, Former Deputy Director, Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea (DOALOS), United Nations, Former Member of the Legal and Technical Commission, International Seabed Authority, New Delhi. The session assessed the impact of the melting of ice in Arctic on shipping lanes and communication. The new shipping lanes such as Northern Sea Lane, the northern lane and the trans-polar lanes and their impact on traditional transport lane in the India Ocean. It also looked at the opening of the Arctic Sea lanes and its effect on the security perspective in the Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea and the western Pacific Ocean sea lanes and effect on existing international law.
The third session was chaired by Dr. Sanjay Chaturvedi, Dean, Department of International Studies, South Asia University, New Delhi. Speakers at the session included Ms. Sulagna Chattopadhayay, Chief Editor, Geography and You, New Delhi and Dr. Suba Chandran, Professor & Dean, School of Conflict and Security Studies, NIAS, Bangalore. The session highlighted the geo-strategic implication of these new routes on India’s security in the maritime domain and the need for India to engage more with the Arctic nations and the Arctic Council.
Closing remarks in the valedictory session were presented by Dr. T.C.A Raghavan, Director General, Indian Council of World Affairs followed by Special Remarks by Dr. Arvind Gupta, Director, Vivekanada International Foundation. The Valedictory Address was given by Mr. Dagfinnur Sveinbjornsson, CEO of Arctic Circle. The session highlighted the need for India to develop an Arctic policy while stressing on the need to take steps to protect the Himalayas-The Third Pole.