January 27, 2022 - 11:55 am

Torchbearer of India’s “Blue Economy”

    The Indian Navy will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Earth Sciences in a bid to share knowledge in the areas of design and development of underwater vehicles. This was disclosed after the Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral R. Hari Kumar called on Dr Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Science and Technology and Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Earth Sciences on January 21.

The meeting also saw discussions on the modalities to be put in place to deepen cooperation between the Indian Navy and the Ministry of Earth Sciences in India’s Deep Ocean Mission. The mission is a project of the Government of India that will be the torchbearer of India’s “Blue Economy” initiatives in the years to come. Pertinent to mention that the Indian Navy is a member of Deep Ocean Council and it will be involved in launching and recovery of Man submersible in deep water, which will be developed under the Deep Ocean Mission.

The Modi Government had approved the Deep Ocean Mission (DOM) in June, 2021 to be implemented by the Ministry of Earth Sciences at a total budget of Rs. 4,077 Crore for 5 years. DOM is a multi-ministerial, multi-disciplinary programme with emphasis on development of deep-sea technology that includes development of manned Submersible rated for 6,000 metre water depth along with technologies for deep sea mining, exploration of deep-sea mineral resources and marine biodiversity, acquisition of a research vessel for ocean exploration, deep sea observations, and capacity building in Marine Biology.

The preliminary design of the manned submersible had been completed and realisation of the vehicle had begun, with various organisations including Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Indian Institute of Technology Madras and the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) roped in to support the manned submersible programme’s development.

Matsya 6000, which is being developed under the Samudrayan initiative, India’s First Manned Ocean Mission, is designed to carry three people in a titanium alloy sphere of 2.1-metre diameter enclosed space to a depth of 6,000 metres in the ocean with a suite of scientific sensors and tools. It is designed to have an endurance of 12 hours and an additional 96 hours in case of an emergency. Undertaken by the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), the Samudrayan project is part of the ₹6,000 crore Deep Ocean Mission. The Minister informed that this niche technology shall facilitate Ministry of Earth Sciences, MoES in carrying out deep ocean exploration of the non-living resources such as polymetallic manganese nodules, gas hydrates, hydro-thermal sulphides, and cobalt crusts, located at a depth between 1,000 and 5,500 metres.

The 'Deep Ocean Mission' is designed to explore India's deep ocean for resources and develop deep-sea technologies for sustainable use of ocean resources. It will have an important bearing on India's future economy.  Dr Jitendra Singh recalled that during his Independence Day address from Red Fort last year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that “Deep Ocean” Mission will take India’s development to new heights in the 21st century. The Deep Ocean Mission is a mission mode project to support the Blue Economy initiatives of the Government of India.