U.S., Russia at odds over military activity in the Arctic
#GS2 #WORLD #ARCTIC COUNCIL
- The Biden administration is leading a campaign against Russian attempts to say authority over Arctic shipping and reintroduce a military dimension to discussions over international activity within the area.
- As Russia became the rotating chairmanship of the Arctic Council, the U.S. rallied members to oppose Moscow’s plans to line maritime rules within the Northern Sea Route, which runs from Norway to Alaska, and its desire to resume military talks within the eight-nation bloc. Those talks were suspended in 2014 over Russia’s actions in Ukraine.
- The trouble reflects growing concerns in Washington and among some NATO allies a few surge in Russian military and business activity within the region that's rapidly opening up thanks to the consequences of global climate change .
Focus on peaceful cooperation
- At a gathering of Arctic Council Foreign Ministers in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, U.S. Secretary of State said the group should maintain its specialise in peaceful cooperation on environmental issues, maritime safety and therefore the well-being of indigenous people within the region.
- US stressed the importance of upholding “effective governance and therefore the rule of law” to make sure that the “Arctic remains a neighborhood freed from conflict where countries act responsibly.”
- Several other Foreign Ministers, including those from Canada, Iceland, Finland, Norway and Sweden, echoed US call to stay the Arctic peaceful and freed from conflict
- The Arctic Council may be a high-level intergovernmental body found out in 1996 by the Ottawa declaration to market cooperation, coordination and interaction among the Arctic States along side the indigenous communities and other Arctic inhabitants.
- The Arctic Council works as a consensus-based body to affect issues like the change in biodiversity, melting sea ice, plastic pollution and black carbon.
- The Council has the eight circumpolar countries as member states and is remitted to guard the Arctic environment and promote the economies and social and cultural well-being of the indigenous people whose organizations are permanent participants within the council.
- The Council has members, unplanned observer countries and permanent participants.
Members of the council
- Members of the Arctic Council: Ottawa Declaration declares Canada, the dominion of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Russia , Sweden and therefore the us of America as a member of the Arctic Council.
- ○ Denmark represents Greenland and therefore the Faroe Islands.
- Permanent participants: In 1998, the amount of Permanent Participants doubled to form up this six, as,the Aleut International Association (AIA), and then, in 2000, the Arctic Athabaskan Council (AAC) and therefore the Gwich'in Council International (GGI) were appointed Permanent Participants.
- Observer status: it's hospitable non-Arctic states, along side inter-governmental, inter-parliamentary, global, regional and non-governmental organizations that the Council determines can contribute to its work.
- it's approved by the Council at the Ministerial Meetings that occur once every two years.
- Observers haven't any voting rights within the Council.
India at the Arctic
- India launched its first scientific expedition to the Arctic in 2007 and found out a search station ‘Himadri’ within the international Arctic research base at Ny-Ålesund in Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway.
- it's two other observatories in Kongsforden and Gruvebadet. Himadri is manned for about 180 days a year.
- Since its establishment, over 300 Indian researchers have worked within the station. India has sent 13 expeditions to the Arctic since 2007 and runs 23 active projects.
- India became an Observer within the Arctic Council for the primary time in 2013. And, India isn’t a full-time observer.
India’s Draft Arctic Policy
- Recently, India has unveiled a replacement draft ‘Arctic’ policy that and is committed to expanding research project , “sustainable tourism” and oil and gas exploration within the Arctic region.
- The draft policy discusses the importance of understanding the impact of global climate change within the Arctic region and its reference to India’s monsoon, which is crucial for its economy.
- India also proposes to specialise in vast resources of the Arctic region including hydrocarbons, minerals and renewable power to make sure its energy security.
- The policy is cautious in framing its involvement within the Arctic as “common heritage of mankind” but its priorities are almost like that of other non-Arctic states.
- This policy pathway draft rides on five pillars:
- Science and research activities,
- Economic and human development cooperation,
- Transportation and connectivity,
- Governance and international cooperation, and
- National capacity building
Commercial and Strategic Interests
- The Arctic region is extremely rich in minerals, and oil and gas. With some parts of the Arctic melting thanks to heating , the region also exposes the likelihood of latest shipping routes which will reduce existing distances.
- Countries have already got ongoing activities within the Arctic hope to possess a stake within the commercial exploitation of natural resources present within the region.
- The Arctic Council doesn't prohibit the commercial exploitation of resources within the Arctic.
- It only seeks to make sure that it's wiped out a sustainable manner without harming the interests of local populations and in conformity with the local environment.
- Therefore, to remain relevant within the Arctic region, India should cash in of the observer status it's earned within the Arctic Council and consider investing more within the Arctic.
SOURCE: THE HINDU