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April 19 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


The Department of Posts has recently inaugurated a second post office branch at the Bharati research station in Antarctica, marking a significant milestone after nearly four decades.  

Historical Context: India’s Post Office Legacy in Antarctica 

  • 1984: India established its first post office at Dakshin Gangotri, India’s initial research station in Antarctica. 
  • 1988-89: Dakshin Gangotri was submerged in ice and subsequently decommissioned. 
  • 1990: A new post office was set up at the Maitri research station, continuing India’s tradition of postal service in Antarctica. 

Operational Process of Antarctica Post Office 

  • Addressing: Letters intended for Antarctica will now carry an experimental PIN code, MH-1718, indicative of the new post office branch. 

Consignment Handling: 

  • Letters are sent to the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) in Goa. 
  • Researchers carry these letters during expeditions to Antarctica. 


  • At the research base, the letters are ‘cancelled,’ making them unusable for reuse. 
  • The letters are then returned via post to the designated recipients. 

Strategic Importance of India’s Post Office in Antarctica 

Assertion of Presence: 

  • Antarctica, being neutral under the Antarctic Treaty, allows India to assert its presence on the continent. 

Symbol of Commitment: 

  • The post office symbolises India’s dedication to scientific exploration and environmental conservation in Antarctica. 

Alignment with Antarctic Governance: 

  • The post office aligns with the Antarctic Treaty’s spirit, which emphasises scientific discovery and prohibits military operations and territorial claims. 

India’s Antarctic Programme 

  • Initiation: Started in 1981 with the first Indian expedition to Antarctica. 
  • Managing Body: National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCPOR) established in 1998. 

Research Stations and Facilities 

Dakshin Gangotri: 

  • India’s first Antarctic research base, decommissioned after being submerged in ice in 1988-89. 


  • India’s second permanent research station, located in the Schirmacher Oasis, operational since 1989. 
  • Features Lake Priyadarshini, a freshwater lake built around the station. 


  • India’s latest research station, operational since 2012, located approximately 3,000 km east of Maitri. 
  • Designed to ensure researchers’ safety amidst harsh Antarctic conditions. 

Additional Research Facilities 

Sagar Nidhi: 

  • Established in 2008 under the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT). 
  • An ice-class vessel capable of navigating Antarctic waters and conducting various research activities, including deep-sea mining and tsunami studies. 

Antarctic Treaty System: 

  • Purpose: The Antarctic Treaty System regulates relations among states in Antarctica to ensure peaceful and non-controversial use of the continent. 
  • Global Achievement: A hallmark of international cooperation for over 50 years, these legally binding agreements address Antarctica’s unique geographical and environmental characteristics. 
  • Challenges: With increased accessibility due to technology and climate change, more nations have interests in Antarctica, especially regarding scarce resources like oil, fisheries, and minerals. 
  • Future Consideration: All signatories, especially those with significant stakes, must prioritize the treaty’s future to address evolving challenges effectively. 

Major International Agreements: 

  • 1959 Antarctic Treaty 
  • 1972 Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Seals 
  • 1980 Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources 
  • 1991 Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty 

National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR): 

  • Establishment: Founded on May 25, 1998, under the Ministry of Earth Sciences. 
  • Responsibilities: NCPOR oversees India’s polar and southern ocean research, manages research bases in Antarctica and the Arctic, and operates the research vessel ORV Sagar Kanya. 
  • Facilities: ORV Sagar Kanya, stationed in Goa, is equipped with advanced scientific instruments for ocean observation. 

Mains Question: 

  1. “How does India’s recent expansion of its Antarctic postal network reflect its commitment to scientific exploration and environmental stewardship in the region?” (150 WORDS)


April 19
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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