STRATEGIC ANALYSIS

Sailing through the Northern Sea Route: Opportunities and Challenges

Dr. Vijay Sakhuja is Senior Fellow at the Center for Air Power Studies, New Delhi. He has been Research Fellow at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses, New Delhi.
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  • July 2013
    Volume: 
    37
    Issue: 
    4
    Arctic: The New Front

    Because of global warming, the thinning ice in the Arctic is opening up the region for navigation for a few months in the summer season. The Arctic littoral countries (Canada, Norway, Denmark [Greenland], Russia and the United States), shipping companies and several other stakeholders (the EU and Asian countries such as China, Japan, Singapore and South Korea) are closely tracking shipping related developments in the Arctic and developing strategies to exploit the Northern Sea Route (NSR).
    This article argues that the NSR offers a mixed bag of opportunities and challenges and would require the technological upgrade of platforms, navigational facilities, trained human resource and a cargo base to encourage shipping companies to deploy vessels along the new routes. Furthermore, stakeholders would need to be conscious of the adverse impact of commercial and human activity on the Arctic ecology.

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