P. Whitney Lackenbauer
This article examines critically examines the writings of five Indian commentators: Indian Council of World Affairs research director Vijay Sakhuja, former foreign secretary Shyam Saran, retired Army colonel P.K. Gautam and Navy commander Neil Gadihoke, and political scientist Sanjay Chaturvedi of Punjab University. It subsequently assesses India's perspective and potential strategic and policy directions in the Arctic region. Indian policy discourse has yet to produce a coherent or "dominant" opinion on the country's place in Arctic affairs. Nevertheless, several trends are evident, including an emphasis on a 'polar race' narrative; a view of Arctic as a "common heritage of mankind" in need of protection; and a geo-economic perspective that seeks strategic positioning for future resource exploitation and shipping accessibility.
P. Whitney Lackenbauer is Associate Professor of History at St. Jerome's University (University of Waterloo), Canada.
Li Xing and Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen
China's interest in the Arctic is not usually discussed thoroughly in its context of the core interests of the Chinese Communist Party: political stability, territorial integrity and economic growth. This article discusses the role of the Arctic in light of the crucial importance of energy and transportation security for continued political stability and economic growth in China. China has a global view of pursuing this security sourcing energy globally and developing its navy to ensure strategic capabilities to protect sea-lanes against state and non-state challenges. Political stability in China is believed by the Communist Party to rest on continued economic growth. China is deeply dependent on energy imports and expected to become more dependent in the future. For its energy, China is dependent on the Persian Gulf plagued by instability and militarily dominated by the USA. Equally the Chinese economy is dependent on exports, which makes China dependent on secure and preferably short sea-lanes to major markets. The strategic competitor, the USA, controls the sea lanes and choke points as the Strait of Malacca; in the Gulf of Aden, piracy is a threat; while the Suez and Panama Canals are bottlenecks. Arctic energy and the Northern Sea Route offer some opportunities for diversification of sources and supply lines.
Li Xing is Professor and Rasmus Gjedssø Bertelsen is Assistant Professor at Aalborg University, Denmark.
Through various science-related and media channels Arctic indigenous peoples and western society have moved closer to a balanced account of Arctic environmental change. Focusing on the role of polar scientist and Inuit media makers, this article articulates the process through which a cross-cultural exchange of environmental knowledge is beginning to occur. At the intersection of Traditional Knowledge with western science and new media technology, a nascent but significant shift in practice is providing pathways to a 'trusted' exchange of Arctic climate change knowledge. Potentially, both could influence our global understanding of climate change.
Erica Dingman is an Associate Fellow at the World Policy Institute, USA.
Today, conservation efforts of Arctic states reflect a state-based approach. This contrasts with international conservation efforts in the post-Cold War period, which were grounded in perceiving the region as a global commons. In this article, I examine the ways in which Canada and Russia use natural conservation areas as instruments to express sovereign rights. I compare Canada's proposed Lancaster Sound National Marine Conservation Area at the eastern mouth of the Northwest Passage and Russia's recently expanded Natural System (zapovednik) of Wrangel Island Reserve at the eastern entrance to the Northern Sea Route. These two case studies allow for an examination of the domestic politics of zoning, exclusion, and access alongside Arctic geopolitics and foreign policy discourse. Both parks are complex products of domestic and foreign policy, making them densely layered spaces of contested and contingent sovereignty. Moreover, Canada and Russia draw on regimes such as UNCLOS and UNESCO's World Heritage Committee to defend their sovereignty in contested waterways. Whereas around the world, states have historically created national parks in areas without significant economic value, the conservation areas in and around Lancaster Sound and Wrangel Island lie in waters valuable for their geostrategic position and shipping potential. Yet importantly, the conservation areas are situated so as not to coincide with hydrocarbon interests. Ultimately, Russia and Canada's establishment of these two conservation areas suggests ulterior motives of sovereignty and economic interests at work, suggesting that we should be carefully attuned to scrutinizing the intentions behind environmental measures taken in the Arctic.
Mia Bennett is the Arctic Blogger for the Foreign Policy Association and a PhD student in the Geography Department at the University of California, Los Angeles.
During the last decade, there has been much speculation about whether the rise of China will represent a threat or opportunity for the international system. More recently, the debate has sped up with China's growing interest in the Arctic region. To date, China has not unveiled an Arctic strategy, but consistent with its rising global status, it is likely to take a more active role in Arctic affairs. As China's Arctic activities cannot be separated from its other national interests, this article examines them in the context of the party-state's overall foreign policy objectives. It begins with a review of China's rise to global power status and its perceived implications for international society, particularly for international Arctic politics. Following that, it explores China's foreign policy objectives and looks at how China's Arctic activities seek to promote these goals. The article concludes that China's main Arctic interests include climate change, economic development, and scientific research. In addition, as China wishes to be seen as a "responsible major power", it seeks to reassert its position in Arctic international politics without challenging the sovereign rights of the Arctic littoral states.
Sanna Kopra is a PhD student at the School of Management, University of Tampere, Finland.
The increased accessibility of the Arctic and the new opportunities and challenges this change brings about have raised a number of questions that need to be addressed. One of such questions is the issue of regionalism and globalisation in respect to the Arctic. By applying New Regionalism theory to examine the Arctic as a region, and Realism and Neoliberalism to assess Arctic regional security, this article attempts to analyse whether the Arctic is still a cluster of smaller regions or if it has become a part of a globalised world.
Natalja Jegorova is a Junior Research Fellow at the International Centre for Defence Studies (ICDS), Estonia.