Why in News?
- Russia touted its Arctic power at a flag-raising ceremony and dock has recently launch for two nuclear-powered icebreakers that will ensure year-round navigation in the Western Arctic.
- Both icebreakers were laid down as part of Russia’s la, systematic work to re-equip and replenish the domestic icebreaker fleet, to strengthen Russia’s status as a “great Arctic power.”
- In the last two decades, Russia has reactivated several Soviet era Arctic military bases and upgraded its capabilities.
- For Russia, it is essential to study and develop the Arctic, to ensure safe, sustainable navigation in this region, and to increase traffic along the northern sea route.
- The development of this most important transport corridor will allow Russia to more fully unlock its export potential and establish efficient logistics routes, including to South East Asia.
- For Russia, the opening of the Northern Sea Route will cut down time to reach Asia by up to two weeks compared to the current route via the Suez Canal
- The Arctic region has rich deposits of coal, gypsum and diamonds and also substantial reserves of zinc, lead, placer gold and quartz. Greenland alone possesses about a quarter of the world’s rare earth reserves.
- The Arctic already supplies the world with roughly 10% of its oil and 25% of its natural gas, mostly from onshore sources. It is also estimated to hold 22% of the Earth’s undiscovered oil and natural gas reserves.
- The Arctic and the Himalayas, though geographically distant, are interconnected and share similar concerns.
- The Arctic meltdown is helping the scientific community to better understand the glacial melt in the Himalayas, which has often been referred to as the ‘third pole’ and has the largest freshwater reserves after the North and South poles