– Research in the Arctic is important for both Norway and India. Indian scientists have for several years been working on Svalbard. Interest will increase further now that India is an observer in the Arctic Council, said Foreign Minister Espen Barth Eide.
The Indian Antarctic and marine science institute has its own research station in Ny-Ålesund. Besides Indian PhD students are studying at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS). Svalbard offers a unique opportunity to study the global climate system and climate change. India contributes research activities in the north to better understand what is happening in the Himalayas.
Ministers also visited satellite station SvalSat where the combination of Svalbard geography and Norwegian technology provide continuous access to data including Indian satellites for earth observation.
Activities on Svalbard is only a small part of the growing research cooperation with India. The Government has allocated NOK 50 million NOK for research cooperation with India in 2013.
– We are in Asia’s century. It is also evident in the Arctic. In addition to Indian scientists, there are institutions from China, South Korea and Japan actively working in Svalbard. This creates room for another collaboration with these emerging countries both commercially and scientifically, said Eide.
Beside Svaldbard, the two ministers discussed developments in Syria and Myanmar, as well as regional security in Asia. The Indian delegation was also interested in the possibility of increased investments in India from Norway.