India's Antarctic Postal Operations and Strategic Significance

Image depicting the significance of Pin Code MH-1718 in India's Antarctic postal operations, highlighting the strategic importance of maintaining a presence in the continent under the Antarctic Treaty
India's Antarctic Postal Operations and Strategic Significance

India established its first post office in Antarctica at Dakshin Gangotri in 1984. Within a year, over 10,000 letters and mail were processed, but the station submerged in ice in 1988-89 and was decommissioned. A new post office was set up at Maitri research station on January 26, 1990.

Postal Operations and Philately:

  • Letters for Antarctica are sent to the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research (NCPOR) in Goa.
  • A researcher carries the letters during expeditions, and at the base, they are 'cancelled' with the stamp "Maitri North Goa," prized by philatelists.
  • 'Cancellation' marks a stamp to prevent reuse, indicating the location and date of the post office.

New Pin Code: MH-1718:

  • A second branch is opening after 40 years, with the experimental pin code MH-1718.

Strategic Importance:

  • Asserts India's presence in Antarctica under the Antarctic Treaty, which neutralizes territorial claims, bans military operations, and promotes scientific discovery.

Additional Facts:

  • India has two permanent research bases in Antarctica: Maitri (1989) and Bharati (2012).
  • The Antarctic Treaty (1959) preserves Antarctica for science and prohibits military activity.
  • India has conducted research in Antarctica since 1981 and has been a consultative member of the Antarctic Treaty since 1983.
  • Managed by NCPOR, India's Antarctic Program is under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

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