Five years after it set up a permanent research station in the Arctic,India has been inducted into the Arctic Council with an observer status,allowing it to have a greater say in managing the activities and resources in the Arctic region.
The eighth ministerial meeting of the eight-member Arctic Council,held in Kiruna,Sweden,has inducted six countries,including India and China,to join the council as observers. The other countries to have been given the observer status are Italy,Japan,Republic of Korea and Singapore. The application of European Union has been kept on hold.
The council,that has the US,Canada,Norway,Russia,Finland,Denmark,Iceland and Sweden as permanent members,is a high-level forum for discussions on issues relevant to the Arctic and the people who live there. It is concerned with issues of climate change,preserving polar environment,sustainable use of natural resources of the region and promotion of scientific research in harmony with natural surroundings. Its decisions have limited legal backing.
The Arctic region is rich in mineral resources,and in oil and gas.
Indias induction into the council is the fulfilment of its diplomatic efforts for some time to get this status.
We welcome this consensus decision admitting India as an observer state of the Arctic Council and affirm our commitment to contribute our proven scientific expertise,particularly in polar research capabilities,to the work of the Arctic Council and to support its objectives, Syed Akbaruddin,official spokesperson of the Ministry of External Affairs,said in a statement.