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Russia's latest nuclear-powered icebreaker to boost India's Arctic plans via Northern Sea Route

IBEF:  December 30, 2021

Russia has unveiled the 'Sibir,' a new nuclear-powered icebreaker that will join a fast-growing fleet of lethal icebreakers to maintain the Northern Sea Route open for year-round shipping through the Arctic, allowing India to expand its footprint in the region.

The Indian side indicated interest in partnering with Russia on the Northern Sea Route during the 21st edition of the India-Russia summit, which took place on December 6. The Indian side congratulated Russia on its successful presidency of the Arctic Council from 2021 to 2023 and stated its willingness to participate actively as an Observer in the Arctic Council.

According to Russian estimations, oil and gas reserves in the Russian Arctic might be sufficient for the country for decades, if not millennia. Simultaneously, the Arctic is throwing up new possibilities for hydrocarbons and other untapped resources beneath its ice. Russia maintains a stronghold in the Arctic, which it regards to be its strategic backyard.

The Arctic has offered India and Russia with a new front of potential for collaboration. The Barents region, located in the Arctic, is home to some of the world's most well-known mineral reserves as well as some of the world's best deep harbours from which to transfer the products. Iron ore is abundant in the area. Russia's Arctic oil and gas development projects have been accorded top attention.

The shortest route between East Asian and Western European ports is via the Northern Sea Route via the Arctic. The nautical distance between Shanghai and Rotterdam via NSR is expected to be 30% shorter than the Suez Canal route, saving travel time by 10–12 days. Similarly, the distance between Yokohama and Rotterdam will be cut in half.

Disclaimer: This information has been collected through secondary research and IBEF is not responsible for any errors in the same.