What is it?
- It is an initiative spearheaded by the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) in collaboration with ISRO, DRDO, Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and the Indian Navy.
- The Indian government wants to understand the oceans better, both as a resource and for the conservation of marine biodiversity.
- One of the main aspects of the mission will be design, development and demonstration of human submersibles (in the image below).
- Another aspect is exploring the possibility of deep sea mining and developing necessary technologies.
- Under the mission, studies are planned at depths close to 6,000 metres under six major components —
- Mineral exploration on the sea-bed;
- Study and mapping of biodiversity;
- Study of climate change;
- Exploration of marine biology and developing allied courses,
- Training; development and demonstration of ocean exploration
- Off-shore technologies for future.
Significance of the mission
- The mission forms a part of the Blue Economy envisioned to be developed by 2030, which will place India among select countries — US, France, Japan, Russia and China — to have special missions dedicated for ocean studies.
- It is a strategic and geo-political move in order to further strengthen India’s position in the Indian Ocean region.
- Globally, only 11 percent of marine species have been identified. The deep ocean species are even less explored. Hence it will be helpful in identifying the species and know more about climate change.
- It will enable India to develop capabilities to exploit resources in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (CIOB).
- CIOB reserves contain deposits of metals like iron, manganese, nickel and cobalt. It is envisaged that 10% of recovery of that large reserve can meet the energy requirement of India for the next 100 years.
- India has also been allotted 75,000 square kilometres in the CIOB by the UN International Sea Bed Authority (ISA) for exploration of poly-metallic nodules.
- The ISA is an institution set up under the Convention on Law of the Sea to which India is a Party.
- Polymetallic nodules are potato-shaped, largely porous nodules found in abundance carpeting the sea floor of world oceans in deep sea. These are also known as manganese nodules.
- Polymetallic nodules have economically valuable metals such as Copper, Cobalt, Nickel and Manganese in them and are viewed as potential resources to take care of the depleting land resources and increasing demand of these metals.
Why in the news?
- Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State of the Ministry of Science and Technology, said that the Government has approved the Deep Ocean Mission at a total budget of Rs. 4077 Cr for 5 years.