South Asia and Beyond

‘The Arctic Is Opening Up, Climate Change And Geopolitics Are Impacting In A Big Way’

NEW DELHI: The stakes for the Arctic have never been higher with climate change on one side and geopolitics on the other. But as Norway takes over the chair of the Arctic Council next week from Russia, there is expectation that Oslo given its traditional good relations with Moscow, will bring positive focus on the region, says Dr Sulagna Chattopadhyay, Polar Expert and President of the Delhi based Arctic think tank SaGAA.

Talking on The Gist, Dr. Chattopadhyay says there are divisions among the eight Arctic Council members. Canada for instance, sees its Arctic wilderness purely in environmental terms, an area to be protected. Russia on the other hand is already exploiting the oil and gas reserves there, also coal and rare earths. Norway is doing much the same.

But climate change and ice melt has seen non-Arctic countries like China move into the Arctic in a big way, pushing ahead with the Northern Sea Route to ship goods to Europe at lower cost, she says.

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India, a non-Arctic member, has a long tradition of climate and environment studies but has been more measured in its approach. The new Arctic policy now seeks to build on the past but with more intent and speed. Resources are limited right now but is expected to increase.

Tune in for more in this conversation with Dr. Sulagna Chattopadhyay of SaGaa think tank.