Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh today called for building strong global collaboration for scientific research and logistic endeavours in Antarctica as the continent is the largest “refrigerator” that needs to be sustained in its pristine conditions for generations to come.
Addressing the 10th Scientific Community on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Open Science Conference in a virtual mode, Dr Jitendra Singh said, this is critical as the world faces unprecedented Climate variability in its phase of human forced changes. He said, this change in Antarctica will get reflected in weather patterns and thereby influencing not only the world’s climate but also economies and health as well. The Minister said, it’s time for the scientific community to talk in unison and work towards common goals of Antarctic heritage and scientific temper.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, India, being an active member of Antarctic Treaty System, Committee for Environmental Protection (CEP), and Convention on Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) and SCAR reaffirms its commitment to conserve and preserve the Antarctic continent including the surrounding ocean through scientific studies and actions. He also added India has extended support for protecting the Antarctic environment and for co-sponsoring the proposal of the European Union for designating East Antarctica and the Weddell Sea as Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
Dr Jitendra Singh said, India has been in Antarctica for over four decades with two of our operational research bases in East Antarctica, one at Schirmacher Oasis- (Maitri) and the second at Larsemann Hills- Bharati. He also pointed out that the year 2022 also marks decade of India’s research at Bharati. The Minister said, India is also looking forward to using renewable alternatives to reduce the carbon footprints and it has already initiated green energy initiatives in the country by establishing the world’s largest solar plant – Bhadla Solar Park with a capacity of 2245 MW installed in Rajasthan, thus re-enforcing its commitment towards the sustainability.
Dr Jitendra Singh underlined that it’s indeed a proud moment for India to host the 10th SCAR Open Science Conference as it coincides with India’s 75th year of Independence, which is popularly being celebrated as Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav. He said, we missed out a great opportunity to host you all in person in India, but expressed hope that the SCAR Conference will surely bring you to India soon for forging ties with a country which has strong scientific history as well as culturally, we have one of the oldest living cities in India.
In his concluding remarks, Dr Jitendra Singh said, the deliberations in form of mini symposia, plenaries and talks, the scientific community will enrich itself with the discussions in different domains of Antarctic science, including humanities and a session on human impacts, environment, and conservation. The Minister said, it is time more debate should be on how to work together to answer specific science questions, in solving issues of climatic connections both through atmospheric and oceanic realms.