Oslo: President Pranab Mukherjee had a rare interaction through video-conference with Indian scientists working at the Himadri station, India's first Arctic research facility, located 1,200 kms from the North Pole.
The president spoke to the Indian scientists working in the remote polar region via video-conference last evening from the 'Fram Museum' here.
"Thank you sir. It's really cold here but it's an exciting place to work," an excited scientist told the president who is on a two-day state visit to Norway.
And he continued speaking "...President Sir, Arctic is the most important place to carry out research as any changes here have an impact on climatic conditions in India".
And now it was the turn of the president to ask him a question. "What is your assessment of Arctic change affecting India's monsoon. How do the changes in this region affect monsoon development in India?" asked the president.
"The changes in Arctic region do have its impact Sir on climate in India as the melting glaciers raise the sea level which results in changes in the atmosphere," the scientist said.
Flanked by other four team members, the scientist said "cradle changes of drought mainly emerges from Arctic region."
This prompted Mukherjee to ask reasons for this and how this could be prevented.
"We do a specific study and monitor glaciers. Our study is sent to Science Ministry back in Delhi where all the studies and analysis is done," the scientist said.
Mukherjee appreciated the efforts made by them and said, "I am happy that you conduct your research in such a risky and hostile climate that you are not accustomed to".
Himadri station is at Ny-Alesund in Norway, which is the northern-most permanent human settlement, 1,200 kms from the North Pole.
India is the 11th country to have established a full-fledged research station here. The others are the UK, Germany, France, Italy, China, Japan, South Korea, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway.
As many as 200 scientists from various Indian universities have carried out research at Himadri, or 'the abode of snow', since 2008. At any given time, there are five scientists working at the station with a stay for a maximum of 175 days from March to November.
At present there are 25 Indian projects being undertaken at Himadri which include research in microbiology and glaciology as India believes that the Arctic and the higher latitudes is where the drivers of climate are.
Briefing reporters later, Indian Ambassador to Norway Air Chief Marshal (retd) N A K Browne said that India could manage to put a deep sea observatory probe which is collecting information on climate changes under the Arctic Ocean.
"It is at almost about 78 degrees North and it is the first time that we have done this. This probe is going to be functioning throughout the year. So, though the human element is going to be there just from March to November, they will continue to gather data and empirical data to arrive at some decision and certain conclusion as far as research part is concerned," Browne said.
He said this probe has been placed in conjunction with the Norwegian government. "All in all, it has been a very good success story from both countries," he said.
Mukherjee also interacted with a couple of Indian students doing their PhD from University of Svalbard.