The CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography (NIO), Goa, and the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR), Vasco, south Goa are set to jointly celebrate the 30th anniversary of launching of the Third Indian Antarctic Expedition.

The event will be inaugurated on Tuesday at the NIO, Dona Paula near here by Goa Governor Bharat Vir Wanchoo. Nearly 30 expedition members including Harsh Gupta, Member of the National Disaster Management Authority; Maj. General (retd.) S.S. Sharma, Deputy Leader of the expedition; Lt. General A.T. Parnaik, Director General, Border Roads Organisation; Air Marshal V.M. Khanna, Director General, Helicopters and Transporter, Indian Air Force; and L.S. Rathore, Director General, India Meteorological Department will attend.

After the inaugural function at the NIO, the participants will move on to NCAOR, Vasco, south Goa, which coordinates polar research in India, for deliberations and interactions with the members of the Indian teams presently in Antarctica.

The event is expected to provide an opportunity for reflection on how far the Indian Antarctic Programme has progressed over the past three decades and seeking advice of the pioneers on future development of the programme.

Polar research

India’s involvement with polar research started in 1981 when a team of scientists led by S.Z. Qasim, the former Director of NIO, landed on the icy continent, said an official spokesperson of NCAOR on Monday.

He said the first two expeditions were exploratory in nature. The responsibility of building a permanent station in Antarctica to ensure Indian presence throughout the year was assigned to the Third Expedition.

The Third Expedition, led by Mr. Gupta, the then Director of Centre of Earth Science Studies, Trivandrum, left Mormugoa harbour on December 3, 1983 on board MV Finn Polaris. In addition to 16 scientists and one cameraman, the expedition party also included 64 persons from the Armed Forces, mostly engineers, who were assigned the task of constructing the First Indian Scientific Station, Dakshin Gangotri.

The Expedition reached Antarctica on December 27, 1983. The construction work commenced immediately and despite numerous logistic problems and hostile weather, the station was built in a record period of eight weeks.

The expedition has successfully completed all planned surveys and research in the continent, the NCAOR spokesperson said.

  • The first and second expeditions to Antarctica were exploratory in nature

  • The third expedition set up its base in the icy continent in December 1983