Events Gurmeet Batra  

1982: First Indian scientific expedition reaches Antarctica

1982: First Indian scientific expedition reaches Antarctica. Thirty-nine years ago, on precisely this day, Indians set their first foot on Antarcticn ice. A greatly remarkable peregrination in Indian history, it designates the commencement of over 30 more journeys of the Antarctic territory brought out by the National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research of India.

1982: First Indian scientific expedition reaches Antarctica postal stamps
1982: First Indian scientific expedition reaches Antarctica postal stamps

1982: The first Indian scientific expedition reaches Antarctica. The team of 21 Indians arrived on Jan. 9 on the coast of Queen Maud Land opposite the large Indian Ocean. Members of the team, led by Dr. Zahoor Qasim, a leading Indian oceanographer, worked aground near the Japanese order of Showa at 41 degrees 7 minutes east measure.

January 9, 1982, will endure as ever engraved in Dr. Zahoor Qasim’s memory as a very special day when he hoisted the Tricolour on the white snow-covered continent Antarctica an achievement being created for the first time.

The leader of First Indian scientific expedition Dr. Zahoor Qasim
The leader of First Indian scientific expedition Dr. Zahoor Qasim

The programme was inaugurated in 1981 with a selected team of 21 members under the direction of Dr. S Z Qasim, Secretary of Department of Environment and former Director of National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) to conduct scientific research in the frozen continent for the first-ever time for India.

The great expedition started from Goa, India on December 6, 1981, onboard Marine Vessel Polar Circle an authorised chartered ship from Norway. The ensemble troupe landed in Antarctica on January 9, 1982, and the members of the great expedition returned to Goa on February 21, 1982, therefore signing the end of their 77-day expedition.

National Research Base in Antarctic
National Research Base in Antarctic

It was a proud moment for India. India a country that was considered as a poor and poverty-stricken nation at that time were able to break the monopoly of the rich and advanced countries overhead Antarctica by being the only 13th country to get the social position of the consultative electorate there. Though the expense of the excursion was not much (around Rs 1.5 crore) it was a tremendous geopolitical influenced achievement.

The entire world assembled up and took the declaration of India. An autochthonous expedition was unthinkable for them. Also the first women Prime Minister of India Indira Gandhi who was enthusiastic about the expedition.