India has decided to replace its Maitri research station in Antarctica with a new one in the next three to four years. The same was announced by Madhavan Nair Rajeevan, Secretary, Ministry of Earth Sciences on 9 May 2017. Rajeevan made the announcement while speaking on the sidelines of a programme to formally commence ship building by Titagarh Wagons Ltd in Kolkatta, India. He also stated that India is poised to expand its research activity in the coldest continent and a new ship, with a special ice-cutting facility, will be procured for the purpose. He further added the India is also drafting its own laws to safeguard its interest in Antarctica, as it is currently governed by international laws.
The Indian Antarctic Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional program under the control of National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research, Ministry of Earth Sciences, Government of India. It was initiated in 1981 with the first Indian expedition to Antarctica. The program gained global acceptance with India’s signing of the Antarctic Treaty and subsequent construction of the Dakshin Gangotri Antarctic research base in 1983. Gangotri base was superseded by the Maitri research station from 1990. Bharati is the newest base that was commissioned in 2015, constructed out of 134 shipping containers. India has carried out over 30 scientific expeditions to the Antarctic as of 14 October 2010.