In October, India announced its inaugural scientific expedition to the South Pole, with the news well-received by the Antarctic Treaty nations, according to the Times of India. At about the same time, the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon embarked on its 27th expedition to the Antarctic, with one aim of its voyage to allow a team of Chinese engineers and logistical staff to renovate one of the country's two main research stations in the southern polar region.
The two stories reflect the increasing attention that the two countries are paying to the Antarctic region.
India has been involved in the Antarctic since 1981, but its interest in the political status of the continent dates from the 1950s, when it first raised the "question of Antarctica." Since the early 1980s, when it joined the Antarctic Treaty System, India has established two scientific bases: Dakshin Gangotri, abandoned in 1989, and Maitri, still in operation. It also plans to build a new station in the Larsemann Hills called Bharati, to be operational in 2012.