As the world’s attention is focused on a swath of territory in the East China Sea that now falls under Beijing’s surprise Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), other countries are making preparations to raise the stakes in a much larger region where the stakes could be even higher — the Arctic.
Leading the race in bolstering its presence in the area, where the world’s largest reserves of untapped hydrocarbon resources are believed to lie, is Russia. Moscow announced on December 2 that its navy would make the arctic a priority region in 2014.
According to Vadim Serga, a spokesman for the Northern Fleet’s Western Military District, a new series of ice-class patrol ships will be developed to boost the Russian Navy’s ability to protect its interests in the region. This followed news in early November that the Russian military was planning to form a squadron of ice-breaking warships by 2014 and that infantry forces would be provided with new equipment to increase their ability to conduct combat operations in the region.
My article, published today in The Diplomat, continues here.