Indian Antarctic Program | Indian Antarctic Expedition

The Indian Antarctic Program is carried out under the control of the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research.It was initiated in 1981 with the first Indian expedition to Antarctica. The program gained global acceptance with India's signing of the Antarctic Treaty and subsequent construction of the Dakshin Gangotri Antarctic research base in 1983, superseded by the Maitri base from 1990. Currently India is building its third research station in the region named Bharathi. Indian expeditions to the Antarctic also study the fauna and the molecular biodiversity of the region. A total of 120 new microbes had been discovered as a result of international scientific effort in the Antarctic by 2005. 20 of these microbes had been discovered by India. India has also published over 300 research publications based on Antarctic studies as of 2007.

Antarctic Treaty
Antarctica is the Earth's only continent without a native human population. Antarctica is defined as all of the land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude. The treaty, entering into force in 1961 and currently has 48 signatory nations, sets aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve, establishes freedom of scientific investigation and bans military activity on that continent. India signed the agreement in 1983.

Indian Research stations

Dakshin Gangotri : In 1981 the Indian flag unfurled for the first time in Antarctica, marking the start of Southern Ocean expeditions under the environmental protocol of the Antarctic Treaty (1959). The first permanent settlement was built in 1983 and named Dakshin Gangotri. In 1989 it was abandoned after it became buried in ice.

Maitri : The second permanent settlement, Maitri, was put up in 1988–89 on the Schirmacher Oasis and has been conducting experiments in geology, geography and medicine. India built a freshwater lake around Maitri known as Lake Priyadharshini. Maitri accomplished the mission of geomorphologic mapping of Schirmacher Oasis.

Bharathi : India has demarcated an area beside Larsmann Hill at 69°S, 76°E for its third settlement and second active research station. The station is expected to be fully operational by 2013. When it is complete, India will enter the elite group of nine nations having multiple stations within the Antarctic Circle.
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