60th anniversary of Antarctic Treaty

  • IASbaba
  • June 25, 2021
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60th anniversary of Antarctic Treaty

Part of: GS Prelims and GS -II – International relations

In news

  • Recently, the 60th anniversary of the Antarctic Treaty was celebrated.
  • The Antarctic treaty remains the only example of a single treaty that governs a whole continent.
    • It is also the foundation of a rules-based international order for a continent without a permanent population.
    • Antarctica is defined as all of the land and ice shelves south of 60°S latitude.

About the Antarctic Treaty 

  • The Antarctic Treaty was signed between 12 countries in Washington on 1st December 1959 for making the Antarctic Continent a demilitarized zone to be preserved for scientific research only.
  • The twelve original signatories: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Chile, France, Japan, New Zealand, Norway, South Africa, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the UK and the US.
    • India became a member of this treaty in 1983.
  • Headquarters: Buenos Aires, Argentina.
  • Major Provisions:
    • Promoting the freedom of scientific research.
    • Countries can use the continent only for peaceful purposes.
    • Prohibition of military activities, nuclear tests and the disposal of radioactive waste.
    • Neutralising territorial sovereignty, this means a limit was placed on making any new claim or enlargement of an existing claim.
    • It put a freeze on any disputes between claimants over their territories on the continent.

About Indian Antarctic Programme

  • It is a scientific research and exploration program under the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCPOR). 
  • It started in 1981 when the first Indian expedition to Antarctica was made.
  • Dakshin Gangotri: First Indian scientific research base station established in Antarctica
  • Maitri: India’s second permanent research station in Antarctica. It is situated on the rocky mountainous region called Schirmacher Oasis. India also built a freshwater lake around Maitri known as Lake Priyadarshini.
  • Bharti: India’s latest research station operation since 2012. It is India’s first committed research facility.
  • Sagar Nidhi: In 2008, India commissioned the Sagar Nidhi, for research. An ice-class vessel, it can cut through the thin ice of 40 cm depth and is the first Indian vessel to navigate Antarctic waters.

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