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India welcomes debates on tourism regulations for Antarctica

New Delhi, May 23 (Prensa Latina) More than 350 delegates from 40 countries are debating for the first time tourism regulations for Antarctica as part of the 46th Consultative Meeting of the Antarctic Treaty (ATCM) taking place in India.

The debates will be held until May 30th behind closed doors in the city of Kochi, in the state of Kerala, along with the 26th Meeting of the Committee for Environmental Protection, to establish regulations given the growing number of visitors to Antarctica.

M. Ravichandran, secretary of the Ministry of Science and head of the Indian delegation, told the ATCM open session that Antarctica represents one of the last frontiers of nature and scientific discovery. “As stewards of this extraordinary region, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that all activities, including research and tourism, are carried out in a manner that preserves its ecological integrity for future generations,” he noted, expressing India’s honor for hosting the first discussions on tourism, which he described as crucial in terms of establishing a series of practical recommendations to be incorporated into the broader context of the Antarctic Treaty System.

The Ministry of Earth Sciences explained that the participants in the meetings debate aspects related to science, policy, governance, management, preservation and protection of Antarctica, and that India has been a member of the Consultative Party of the Antarctic Treaty since 1983 and plays a crucial role in managing scientific exploration and environmental protection of Antarctica, therefore India has the right to propose and vote on decisions and resolutions taken in matters of administration, scientific research, environmental protection and logistical cooperation, in addition to establishing research stations, conducting scientific programs and logistical operations, enforcing environmental regulations, and accessing scientific data and research results shared by members of the Antarctic Treaty.

The Contracting and Consultative Parties are responsible for compliance with the Antarctic Treaty, the protection of the environment, the promotion of scientific research and the maintenance of Antarctica as a zone of peace, free of military activity and territorial claims, the Ministry stated.