The International Centre for Polar Studies (ICPS) at the Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, is a Polar cooperation Centre of both science and social sciences. The School of Environmental Sciences, The School of International Relations and Politics, and the Inter-University Centre for Social Science Research and Extension form this interdisciplinary Centre. The ICPS research scientific and socially significant aspects. ICPS supports a multilevel strategic approach for attaining environmentally and socially responsible development. Also, the Centre act as a consultant in geopolitical policies and human ecological aspects for the Government of India.
The official policy on and polar research becomes particularly pertinent to work synergistically with when one factor in climate changes and the intricate determinant roles these regions have in matters of global climatic systems. There are also the hydrological cycles and the possibilities for perennial availability of freshwater that needs eco-sensitive vision that the centre works towards. There are of course the strategic dilemmas that open up with the opening up of sea corridors because of ice melting on the one hand and emergent commercial forays like the “Polar Silk Road” on the other. One has to have explorations with a rational and bio-strategic emphasis that the Centre seeks to work on also within the broad international frames like the UNCLOS [United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea]. One of the major emphases of the human ecological dimension of the ICPS will be to have an outlook that draws from the experience, insights and needs of the indigenous communities scattered through the countries surrounding polar regions. This helps to have a democratic and socially sensitive vision that informs insights. With the myriad trajectories through which environmental disasters and events like large floods may be understood, polar and Himalayan socio-hydrological work with human ecological emphasis becomes ever more significant.
As is evident from the multiple facets, objectives and emphasis in the policy draft, there is ever more understandings into the thinning of sea ice within the total surface or the increase in navigation through ice free zones at alarming rates and the ecological implications for life. This could very well be imagined holistically and situated socio-politically.