By: Prajal Sakhardande, Bureau Chief-ICN Goa
PANAJI: The National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) is one of 37 constituent laboratories of the CSIR – Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, an autonomous research organization in India. The institute has its headquarters in the coastal state of Goa, and regional centres in Kochi, Mumbai and Vizag.
The Institute was established on 1 January 1966. At the end of over 40 years it has grown today into a large oceanographic laboratory of international repute mainly focusing on the understanding of special oceanographic features of the Northern Indian Ocean
By the 1950s the community of oceanographers around the world had realized that while progress had been made in describing and in understanding the observed features of the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, the Indian Ocean had remained relatively unexplored. It was important to address the fundamental oceanographic problems linked to monsoonal cycles experienced by the northern Indian Ocean; chemical characteristics of the water column; abundance and distribution of food resources like fish productivity and to understand the geology of the Indian Ocean through sea bed mapping and sampling.
Areas such as these are important not only to the global community of researchers, but also to the large population that lives in the countries around the Indian Ocean in general and the North Indian Ocean in particular. As a consequence, the global community of oceanographers organized the International Indian Ocean Expedition (IIOE) during 1959-65 to describe and understand the basic features of the Indian Ocean.
The Government of India was an enthusiastic participant in this expedition. As the IIOE approached its concluding phase, the government decided that the Indians who participated in the expedition needed to have an institution where they could build on the oceanographic research skills they picked up during the expedition. It is out of such considerations that the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) came into being. Padma Shri Dr. N.K.Panikkar was appointed Director of this Institute, a post which he held till he retired in May 1973.