A delegation of the International Seabed Authority (ISA) headed by the Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, concluded a 17-day state visit to India Friday, 17 February. Reflecting on the successful outcomes of his visit, the ISA Secretary-General, H.E. Mr. Michael W. Lodge, expressed his admiration at the rapid pace of development of science and technology in India and the commitment shown towards the mandate and the work of ISA.

“India’s strong support for the work of ISA is clear evidence of its commitment to multilateralism and collective action in support of the sustainable development of the Area and its resources for the benefit of humanity as a whole. The collaborations that we have established during this mission will significantly support the delivery of ISA’s key responsibilities and priorities. I look forward to seeing the many achievements of this renewed cooperation and I am confident that it will enhance many of our areas of actions including in favor of technology development, environmental management planning and the effective participation of developing States in deep-sea research projects,” he said.

India has been a party to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and, therefore, a Member of ISA since 1995. India first recovered polymetallic nodules from the deep seabed of the Indian Ocean in 1981. India was the first and only developing State to be a “pioneer investor” under the interim regime before entry into force of UNCLOS. The Government of India currently holds two exploration contracts with ISA: one granted in 2002 for exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Central Indian Ocean Basin (extended in 2017 and 2022) and one for exploration for polymetallic sulphides on the Indian Ocean Ridge signed in 2016.

India is one of the few ISA Members represented in all organs of ISA.  It has a seat as a Member of the Council until 2024 and is represented both in the Legal and Technical Commission and the Finance Committee.

In 2021, under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and within the context of India’s Blue Economy Policy, which identifies deep-seabed mining as a key driver, the Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) of India launched the five-year Deep Ocean Mission structured around several components aligned closely with the mandate and work of ISA.

As India assumes the presidency of the G20 for 2023, ISA will work with key institutions in the country and at the regional level to contribute to discussions on the potential for deep-seabed activities to drive the development of a sustainable blue economy in India and the Indian Ocean region.

The Secretary-General and the ISA delegation visited six different cities (New Delhi, Bhubaneswar, Hyderabad, Chennai, Goa and Ahmedabad) during this state visit to meet with high-level government representatives in charge of implementing India’s Blue Economy Policy, scientists, experts and policymakers working in the field of seabed mining, mineral processing, technology, marine environmental protection and data management. In addition, the delegation met extensively with experts and representatives of key institutions across the country, including the MoES, the G20 Coordinator Task Force, the National Maritime Foundation, the Research and Information System for Developing States, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce, the Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology, the Indian National Center for Ocean Information Services, the National Institute of Ocean Technology, the National Centre for Polar and Ocean Research, NICOMET Industries, the National Institute of Oceanography of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, and the Gujarat National Law University.

On 1 February 2023, Secretary-General Lodge and Dr. M. Ravichandran, the Secretary of the MoES, signed, in the presence of the Honourable Minister of Earth Sciences of the Government of India, Dr. Jitendra Singh, a second five-year extension of the contract for exploration for polymetallic nodules in the Central India Ocean Basin.

Letters of cooperation were signed with the National Maritime Foundation, the Research and Information System for Developing Countries and the Gujarat National Law University to formalize new strategic partnerships aimed at promoting the effective implementation of UNCLOS and the 1994 Agreement, contributing to expanding scientific knowledge of the world’s oceans and promoting an extensive multi-stakeholder policy dialogue on deep-sea-related matters in support of sustainable blue economies, the global energy transition and the 2030 Agenda.


For media enquiries, please contact:

Ms. Stefanie Neno, Communications Specialist, ISA,