The Indian Antarctic Bill 2022, that aims at having India’s own national measures for protecting the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystem, is likely to be tabled in the Parliament on Wednesday.
India has been sending scientific expeditions to Antarctica since 1983.
As India needs to formulate and enforce its own laws for Antarctica, the enforcement of such laws will confer jurisdiction on the courts of India to deal with any dispute or crimes committed in certain parts of Antarctica. “Legislation of such a kind will bind the citizens to the policies of the Antarctic treaty system in a powerful way,” said an official on Monday.
The Indian Antarctica Bill 2022 is in pursuant to India’s accession to Antarctic Treaty, 1959 and the Protocol on Environment Protection (Madrid protocol) to the Antarctic Treaty. This will also be useful in building credibility and enhancing the status of the country globally.
Apart from ensuring fulfillment of obligations of India under the Antarctic Treaty of 1959, to the Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources of 1982, and to the Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty of 1998 and to ensure the comprehensive protection of the Antarctic environment and dependent and associated ecosystems, the Bill objectives include promoting Antarctica as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science and to ensure that Antarctic does not become the scene or object of international discord.
“Of course, the Bill will also ensure, facilitate and promote research in Antarctica by institutions and individuals permitted by India,” the official said on conditions of anonymity.
The cabinet had approved the need for legislation earlier but it has not yet been put out in the public domain.