Antarctica Bill

 

Context:

  • The government on recently introduced the ‘Antarctica Bill’ in the Lok Sabha that envisages regulating visits and activities to Antarctica as well potential disputes that may arise among those present on the continent.
    The Bill also prescribes penal provisions for certain serious violations.

About:

  • It aims to prevent Indian expeditions to Antarctica or the conduct of specified operations in Antarctica without a permission or the express consent of another party to the agreement provide for inspection in India by a central government-designated inspector and the formation of an inspection team to conduct inspections in Antarctica.
  • The minister incharge stated in Parliament that India had been a signatory to the Antarctica Treaty since 1983, which obligated India to outline a set of regulations controlling areas of the continent where it maintained research sites.

Antarctica Treaty:

  • The Antarctic Treaty came into force on 23 June 1961 after ratification by the twelve countries then active in Antarctic science. The Treaty covers the area south of 60°S latitude. Its objectives are simple yet unique in international relations. They are:
    to demilitarize Antarctica, to establish it as a zone free of nuclear tests and the disposal of radioactive waste, and to ensure that it is used for peaceful purposes only;
    to promote international scientific cooperation in Antarctica;
    to set aside disputes over territorial sovereignty.
  • The treaty remains in force indefinitely. The success of the treaty has been the growth in membership. Forty six countries, comprising around 80% of the world’s population, have acceded to it. Consultative (voting) status is open to all countries who have demonstrated their commitment to the Antarctic by conducting significant research.

Source: THE HINDU.

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