India has successfully launched the 41st Scientific Expedition to Antarctica with the arrival of the first batch of its contingent at the southern white continent. The first batch comprising of 23 scientists and support staff reached the Indian Antarctic station Maitri on last week.
The Indian Antarctic program, which began in 1981, has completed 40 scientific expeditions, and built three permanent research base stations in Antarctica, named DakshinGangotri (1983), Maitri (1988), and Bharati (2012). As of today, Maitri and Bharati are fully operational. The National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR), Goa—an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences—manages the entire Indian Antarctic program.
As India is committed to maintaining the continent of Antarctica free of COVID-19 and the highest standards of safety, the Indian contingent has reached Antarctica following a strict medical examination at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi; training for snow-ice acclimatization and survival at the Mountaineering and Skiing Institute, ITBP Auli, Uttarakhand; and a stringent sanitary protocol including a 14 days quarantine at Cape Town, South Africa.
The crew is expected to return to Cape Town in late March/early April of 2022, leaving a team of 48 members for over winter. It will also bring back the over winter team of the preceding 40thexpedtion. The 41st expedition is being led by Dr. Shailendra Saini, Scientist National Centre for Polar & Ocean Research (Voyage Leader), Shri. HuidromNageshwar Singh, Metrologist, India Metrological Department (Leader, Maitri Station) and Shri. AnoopKalayilSoman, scientist Indian Institute of Geomagnetism (Leader, Bharati Station)