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India's Arctic Ambitions: A Comprehensive Overview



  Dec 25, 2023

India's Arctic Ambitions: A Comprehensive Overview



Introduction

India's Arctic policy, titled 'India and the Arctic: Building a Partnership for Sustainable Development', released in March , 2022, symbolizes its rising global stature and its recognition of the Arctic's strategic, economic, and environmental importance. This policy outlines India's vision and strategy for engaging with the Arctic region.

Economic Activities in the Arctic

The Arctic, known for its harsh environment, is witnessing a surge in economic activities such as oil and gas production, mining, shipping, fishing, aquaculture, and tourism. These activities contribute to the region's development through infrastructure investments, tax revenues, and employment generation, highlighting the potential for extensive development.

India's Strategic Interests in the Arctic

India's strategic interests in the Arctic are significant, as evidenced by its Observer status in the Arctic Council. This inter-governmental forum addresses challenges facing Arctic Governments and indigenous peoples. India's policy emphasizes international cooperation, scientific research, and sustainable development.

Objectives of India's Arctic Policy

Strengthening national capabilities in science, exploration, and environmental protection.
Enhancing institutional capacities in government, academia, research, and business.
Fostering inter-ministerial coordination to advance India's interests.
Improving understanding of climate change impacts on India.
Contributing to policymaking on Arctic ice melting implications.
Studying linkages between Polar Regions and the Himalayas.
Deepening cooperation with Arctic countries.
Rationale Behind the Policy
Recognition of the Arctic as a global commons.
Awareness of strategic implications on global trade and energy security.
Potential for resource extraction in a sustainable manner.
Relevance of the Arctic
(A) Scientific Research, Climate Change, and Environment:

Understanding the impact of Arctic changes on global weather, climate systems, and ecosystems, including India's monsoons.
Studying the Arctic to understand processes affecting the Himalayas.
(B) Economic and Human Resources:

Addressing India's energy security needs and strategic mineral deficiencies.
Sustainable and responsible approach to Arctic's resources.
(C) Geopolitical and Strategic Significance:

Navigation of geopolitical competition, particularly with the roles of China, the United States, and Russia.
Addressing boundary disputes among Arctic States.
Conclusion

India's Arctic policy reflects its commitment to scientific research, environmental protection, and sustainable development. It recognizes the importance of international cooperation in addressing the challenges and opportunities presented by the Arctic's evolving environment. India's engagement in the Arctic could bring economic benefits and strengthen international cooperation.


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