India will soon be scouring the ocean floor bed for rare earths as it positions to institute a "strategic presence" in the area of deep sea mining.
A stalk of wild grass grows off soil from an old site of a rare earth metals mine on the outskirts of Longnan county, in Jiangxi Province October 27, 2010.
Ashwani Kumar, Minister of State for Planning, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, said India will be exploring the ocean bed but not essentially for commercial profits.
"India is to create its strategic presence in the field of deep sea mining. China, the US, Korea and Russia are the only few countries that have ventured in the area. They are maintaining their presence in the high seas by claiming to undertake deep sea mining," Mr Kumar said in a press conference.
"India is competing in deep sea mining to further its interests."
To advance its plan, India will hunt rare earths minerals such as titanium, platinum, manganese, copper, cobalt and nickel.
Rare earth minerals are critical elements needed to create a large number of electronic technologies including lithium car batteries, solar panels, wind turbines, flat-screen television, compact fluorescent light bulbs, and military components such as missile guidance systems.
India has the capability to mine the ocean bed at a depth of 6,000 metres via the vessel Sagar Nidhi, Mr Kumar said.
"We are also inducting two more ships, one acquired from a Korean shipyard and one built at Surat to augment our capabilities," Mr Kumar added.
"We have decided to allocate new vessels to the National Institute of Ocean Technology and enhance the human resource requirement in this critical area to ensure India stands among the top league of nations with the capability to extract resources through deep sea mining."
The search will involve a 2,500 km in international waters as per approval of the International Sea Bed Authority.
Deep sea mining was identified as one of three "critical" areas in a high-level meeting attended by government leaders and innovators, effectively becoming an area of special focus for the Indian government. The other two areas were low-cost high-powered computers and technology that will translate the research work into user-friendly results easily understood by the common man.
Mr Kumar noted the government wants to focus on science and technology as one of the primary anchors it needed to face the challenges of the 21st century.
To contact the editor, e-mail:
Most Popular Slideshows
- SEE PHOTOS! Eva Longoria Wears No Panties at Cannes 2013, Revealed in Embarrassing Wardrobe Malfunction [SLIDESHOW]
- Demi Lovato Snapped Getting Flirty with The X-Factor Boss, Simon Cowell? [PHOTOS]
- Robsten Romance: New Thorns on the Rosy Love Between Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart [SLIDESHOW]
- IN PHOTOS! Top Moments on American Idol 2013 Final Show [SLIDESHOW]