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Chachal asked: What can India do to secure its interests in Arctic?

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  • Uttam Kumar Sinha replies: The Arctic has heated up in many different ways. The immediate reason seems to be the heated political discussion on 'who' shall extract the oil when the ice thins and possibly disappears? 'How' will the new marine delimitation lines be drawn? 'Who' will control the new sea passage? The big question (which is quickly dismissed by the Arctic 5) is 'who' owns the Arctic? There is no Indian interest so to speak. At best it can articulate a view point on international resource governance and responsible environmental management. This voice can be expressed through various platforms none more significant than the UN Security Council. However, India should ensure that it is not left out from the expanded observer status in the Arctic Council. There is pressure from China and Brazil to expand the non-Arctic observer status to which India has also joined in. It will be a big image blow if China gets it but India does not. There are six non-Arctic countries who sit in as observers: France, Germany, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, and the UK. The Arctic Council members include the Arctic 5 (Canada, Denmark via Greenland, Norway, Russia and the US) plus 3 (Finland, Iceland and Sweden).