60th anniversary of Antarctic Treaty
Part of: GS Prelims and GS -II – International relations
- 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.
- 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.