Environment & Biodiversity

Afanasy Nikitin Seamount

  • India has filed to the International Seabed Authority (ISBA) for exploration rights on the Afanasy Nikitin (AN) Seamount in the Indian Ocean, which is outside its authority.
  • India’s application is driven by reports of Chinese vessels conducting reconnaissance in the same area, which raises concerns about strategic interests and resource competitiveness. 

About the AN Seamount

  • The AN Seamount, located around 3,000 kilometres from India’s coast, is a significant structural structure in the Central Indian Ocean Basin.
  • A seamount is a massive submerged landform that rises from the ocean floor but does not reach the surface, unlike an island.
  • It measures 400 km long and 150 kilometres wide. It rises from an oceanic depth of approximately 4,800 metres to around 1,200 metres.
  • It was discovered during a maritime research mission and named for Russian researcher Afanasy Nikitin.
  • It is noted for its polymetallic nodules of cobalt, nickel, manganese, and copper.

Continental Shelf Claims and Implications

  • Sri Lanka has sought for continental shelf rights that extend up to 500 nautical miles beyond its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), claiming a specific clause.
  • India, recognising China’s position, has filed a claim for exploration rights to avoid future implications.
  • India has also requested for permission to explore the Carlsberg Ridge, a 3,00,000-square-kilometer zone in the Central Indian Ocean, in search of polymetallic sulphides rich in copper, zinc, gold, and silver.

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