NATO along with the help of the United States and Canada is looking to empower its presence at the North Pole in light of the Russian war in Ukraine and China’s expanding reach.
On a visit by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to the Canadian Arctic, he has confirmed that the High North is strategically significant for Euro-Atlantic security and that Russia’s increased military activity in the region is a strategic challenge for all members of NATO.
As per the statement, “The shortest path to North America for Russian missiles and bombers would be over the North Pole. This makes the role of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) important for North America, and, therefore also for NATO. Our response is a strong as well as predictable Allied presence in the region.”
Aside from the challenges posed by Russia, he also hinted at the fact that China is expanding its reach. The country recently declared itself a “near Arctic” state, planning to build the world’s largest icebreaker & is investing over billions of dollars in energy, infrastructure along with research projects in the High North,” according to Stoltenberg.
He added that Beijing and Moscow pledged to intensify their practical cooperation in the region. “This forms part of a deepening strategic ties which challenges our values and interests.” These challenges are further exacerbated by climate change, which requires the organisation to transform its approach to security and defence.