Context: India recently participated in the 3rd Arctic Science Ministerial (ASM3) meeting, jointly organised by Iceland and Japan and virtually hosted by Japan.

More in the news:

  • Launching of NISER (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite mission, in collaboration with the USA, which is underway.
    • NISER will conduct global measurements of the cause and consequences of land surface changes using advanced radar imaging.

About NISER (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite:

  • India plans to launch NISER (NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar) satellite, 
  • NASA-ISRO Synthetic Aperture Radar (NISER) has not been launched yet. 
    • It is proposed to be launched in early 2023.
  • It is a joint Earth-Observation mission between ISRO and NASA for global observations over all land masses including: 
    • Polar cryosphere and 
    • Indian Ocean region. 
  • It is a dual-band (L-band and S-band) Radar imaging mission with the capability of full polarimetric and interferometric modes of operation.
    • It will help to observe minor changes in land, vegetation and cryosphere. 
  • NASA is developing L-band SAR and associated systems and ISRO is developing S-band SAR, spacecraft bus, the launch vehicle and associated launch services. 
  • The major scientific objectives of the mission are to improve understanding of the impact of climate change on Earth’s changing Ecosystems, land and coastal processes, land deformations and Cryosphere.

Related Facts

About the Arctic Science Ministerial:

  • ASM is the global platform for discussing research and cooperation in the Arctic region.
  • The Ministry of Earth Science shared India’s vision and long-term plans for research, work, and cooperation in the Arctic region with the stakeholders.
  • ASM3, the recent meeting, is jointly organised by Iceland and Japan. It is the first Ministerial meeting being held in Asia. 
  • ASM3 is a platform: 
    • To provide opportunities to academia, indigenous communities, governments and policymakers, 
    • To enhance collective understanding of the Arctic region, emphasize and 
    • Engage in constant monitoring, and strengthen observations. 
  • ASM3’ theme for the year is ‘Knowledge for a Sustainable Arctic’.
  • Earlier, the first two meetings were held in 2016 (USA) and 2018 (Germany).
  • India may get an opportunity to host the next or future ASM.

India’s Plan for Arctic Region:

  • Contributing observing systems in the Arctic, both in-situ and by remote sensing.
  • Deploying open ocean mooring in the Arctic for long-term monitoring of upper ocean variables and marine meteorological parameters.
  •  India’s contributions to the Sustained Arctic Observational Network (SAON) would continue.
  • India believes in collaborations towards strengthening observational systems and sharing of data to enhance knowledge.
  • It is committed to playing a positive role in deepening shared understanding of the Arctic through observation, research, capacity building, as well as in promoting sustainable development of the region through international cooperation.


India and Arctic Council:

  • With the signing of the Svalbard Treaty in Paris, India’s engagement with the Arctic dates back to 1920.
  • In July 2008, India made a permanent research station in the Arctic called Himadri at NyAlesund, Svalbard Area in Norway. 
  • India also deployed a multi-sensor moored observatory called IndARC in the Kongsfjorden fjord in July 2014. 
  • The research in the Arctic region from India is coordinated, conducted, and promoted by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India.
  • India got ‘Observer’ status in the Arctic Council in 2013. 
  • The other observer status countries are- Japan, China, France, Germany, UK, Italy, Switzerland, Poland, Spain, Netherlands, Singapore, and South Korea.
  • Arctic Council: It is a high-level intergovernmental forum to promote cooperation, coordination, and interaction towards sustainable development and environmental protection in the Arctic. 
    • There are 8 Arctic States: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden, and the United States.
    • The Arctic Council was established by the 1996 Ottawa Declaration.

National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) 

  • It is India’s premier R&D institution responsible for the country’s research activities in the polar and Southern Ocean realms.

Sustaining Arctic Observing Networks (SAON):

  • It is a joint activity of IASC (International Arctic Science Committee) and the Arctic Council with the purpose to support and strengthen the development of multinational engagement for sustained and coordinated pan-Arctic observing and data sharing systems. 
  • It promotes the vision of well-defined observing networks that enable users to have access to free, open and high-quality data that will realize pan-Arctic and global value-added services and provide societal benefits.
  • SAON was initiated by IASC and the Arctic Council´s Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) in 2007 and is now governed by a SAON Board.