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Updated December 17th, 2023 at 11:59 IST

How Indian Forces unfurled a 7,500 sq ft Tricolour atop Antarctica's highest peak despite all odds

Group Captain Jai Kishan and the team recount how they unfurled the Indian tricolor on Antarctica's peak amidst a 60-hour survival ordeal.

Digital Desk
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Mission Antartica: Group Captain Jai Kishan and his team from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) in Darjeeling shared the experience of scripting a saga of resilience and bravery by unfurling the Indian tricolour atop the highest peak of Antarctica, Mount Vinson, covering a expanse of 7,500 square feet around December 2021, as stated by Defence officials on Sunday, December 17.

Describing this achievement, Kishan painted a vivid picture: "Imagine a white barren land, and there, India’s tricolour—a sight to behold." Furthermore, the Gp Capt added that the team embarked on a daunting 60-hour survival ordeal in Antarctica, displaying courage and determination. Kishan highlighted, "We had no fear for ourselves but for our comrades. We emerged victorious."

Indian tricolour  atop the highest peak of Antarctica, Mount Vinson. | Image: MoD

Not only unfurled the Tricolor, but also saved lives in the South Pole: Indian contingent's heroic acts

Another remarkable feat that adds to the illustrious chapter of the daring endeavours of the Indian Armed Forces occurred during their ongoing mission around December 3, 2021. The Indian contingent received a distress call involving German climbers stranded at an altitude of 13,600 feet, unable to walk, and requesting rescue. Being part of the Indian Armed Forces, they mobilised to save the Germans. Reflecting on this rescue operation, Kishan stated, ‘It was our responsibility to rescue them.' Despite the challenges, within 12 hours, the Armed Forces successfully completed the rescue operation, ensuring the safe return of the stranded Germans.

Looking ahead to the Azadi Amrit Mahotsav in 2047, Kishan hinted at an even grander display, asserting, "When we celebrate, we shall unfurl an even larger flag for the world to witness our feat."

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State Defence Minister flags-in Mission Antarctica 

State Defence Minister Ajay Bhatt, too, on December 13, commemorated the conclusion of 'Mission Antarctica,' led by a team from the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling. This ambitious expedition, initiated in 2021 under Kishan’s helm. As per the Ministry, The team had previously unfurled the colossal National Flag, weighing 75 kilograms, atop Mt Rhenock in Sikkim Himalayas, setting records in the Asia Book of Records and India Book of Records.

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Additionally, now the flag has been displayed over Mount Vinson Peak, the highest peak in the South Pole. At the ceremonial flag-in held at the Air Force Bal Bharati School in Delhi, Bhatt witnessed the grand finale, praising the team's unconventional approach in encouraging adventure and patriotism among the youth.

India's Antarctic odyssey: A journey of scientific prowess

India's Antarctic expedition commenced in 1981, led by the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research under the Ministry of Earth Sciences. This program transformed from its humble origins to become a global exemplar of polar exploration.

With milestones including the establishment of research bases like Dakshin Gangotri, Maitri, and the more modern Bharati station in 2012, India's strides in Antarctic research have been relentless. These bases served as hubs for multifaceted studies encompassing atmospheric, biological, geological, and medical sciences. India's allegiance to the Antarctic Treaty System has also encouraged international collaborations, earning Consultative Member status and participation in important global committees. Its scientific contributions, ranging from krill exploration to seismic studies, have shed light on the continent's ecological tapestry and geological heritage.

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Over the years, Indian expeditions have unearthed 120 new microbial species and unveiled crucial insights into paleoclimates through ice-core drilling. With a repository of over 300 research publications, India has thus cemented its status as a vanguard in Antarctic exploration.

 

 

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Published December 17th, 2023 at 10:25 IST

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