The Arctic Ocean is in news these days because of the power struggle among various powers to control it. There is a rush of claim on the unclaimed territory, unclaimed ocean and land territory. The main objective of the powers is to acquire trade routes and explore the hidden resources. Global warming has made the North pole more accessible and allowed new research and economic activities.

According to the US geological survey estimates, there are 90 billion barrels of oil, 47 billion cubic meters of natural gas and 44 billion barrels of natural gas liquid in the region. The region has a third of world’s hydrocarbon resources. According to Global Times, the US paint Russia and China as rivals and with the appointment of new ambassador to the Arctic region brings conflicts to peaceful North Pole. Russians from their area of responsibility getting 85.1 trillion cubic meter of gas and 17.3 billion tons of oil. Russia is supplying India with Arctic liquefied natural gas and is also planning to develop a combined arms forces in the Arctic region to protect its interest.

On the other hand, the US is in the process of increasing its military power to counter China and Russia. In 2013 the US announced its national strategy for the Arctic region. According to US officials, the US has to protect its national security being one of Arctic nation and has strong economic interest and also to combat climate change. The US is also planning to purchase Greenland from Denmark. The US has signed number of agreements with Denmark covering the Thule air base. The base is for the US space force’s northmost base on the North West coast of Greenland. China claims to be 1500 kilometers away from the Arctic circle therefore declared a state, closer to North pole and ‘Near Arctic State’.

The Polar Silk Route part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative is its focus. China is looking for potential Arctic route or maritime Silk Route which connect China with Rotterdam, Holland. This route will be much shorter route for energy shipping via Indian Ocean and Suez Canal. According to Brookings, China has sent high level figures to the region 33 times in the past in two decades to discover more economic projects and scientific facilities.

Alaska makes the US the Arctic nation and is critical to the US national security as it closes the US location to the centre of Northern Hemisphere. It is closer to Strait of Bering and to the great route between North America and Asia. The NATO chief Stoltenberg said “Russia has intensified activities in the resources rich area, reopening Soviet era bases and testing new state of art weapons”. According to NATO chief, “The Arctic is of great importance for NATO and the Western alliance must give priority to its military presence in the polar region”. With the melting of snow/glaciers due to climate change, mines/minerals hidden has made access easy. With the melting of ice, the area will be used as a trade route and has opened up more territory for cultivation.

The US and its allies are trying their best to contain Russia and China. The US considers China an outsider in the region which call itself as near Arctic power. The US Indo-Pacific Command (USINDOPACOM) is responsible for Antarctic region also monitors the Arctic region. India has released its Arctic policy with its focus on science diplomacy, exploration and efforts to make deeper cooperation between India and the countries of the region. India is one of the 13 nations holding observer status in the Arctic Council.

The issues with the region are settled by the Arctic Council (The US, Russia, Canada, Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Norway & Iceland), in addition to the issues of indigenous people. In case of Pakistan, in the 90s it became the first country in the Islamic world to send its expeditions to Antarctic region. Pakistan established two scientific research centres, Jinnah Antarctic Station I and II and also a weather station. Pakistan has been member of the exclusive Antarctic treaty 2011. Pakistan must once again actively work with Arctic nations for research purposes.