The third pole of the earth not only important for geographical reasons but also for economic and civilizational aspects of the Indian Subcontinent. Explaining the importance of the region, examine the consequences of its changing features.

The Inner Himalayan region, along with Trans Himalayas and Hindukush mountains is often described as the third pole of the world owing to its crucial role in climate regulation and vast source of fresh water in form of glaciers.

It plays a very important economic and geographical role in the life of people living in the subcontinent.

Geographical role:

  • Source of 12 major rivers of Indian subcontinent.
  • Protects Indian subcontinent from icy cold winds of Central Asia.
  • Causes orographic rainfall in sub-Himalayan belt.
  • Acts as biodiversity hotspot due to varied climate and flora and fauna.

Economic role:

  • Rivers originating acts as the backbone of the Indian economy.
  • Himalayan foothills provide temperate/alpine climates to grow high-value crops like walnuts, apples, saffron, etc.
  • Tourism and aesthetic value.

Changing features:

  • Melting of glaciers.
  • Increased glacial erosion.
  • Deforestation and increased Indian flights.
  • Melting of glaciers is leading to more water levels of rivers leading to more destruction during floods.


  • Increased instances of floods in lower areas.
  • Rising sea level.
  • Landslides causing destruction of infrastructure.
  • Fragile environment affected – loss in biodiversity.
  • Reduction in yields of local agriculture.

It has a great impact on developing the traditions, cultures and traditions of Indian subcontinent. Hence, the region is important from geographical, economic and civilizational perspective. Measures like SECURE Himalayas, National Action Plan on Himalayan Ecosystem can help mitigate ill effects of its changes.


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