Washington: Russia had announced an ambitious ‘Arctic Plan’ while activating a new military base in the Arctic region. The plan was Russia’s attempt to convey that it is the foremost claimant for the Arctic region, and even its geographical location supports it. The United States has stepped forward to challenge Russia’s claim and has initiated moves to increase its deployment in the Arctic region. The US Congress has reportedly put forth the demanded before the Department of Defence for building a new base in the Arctic.
A defence budget bill is under debate in the US Congress. During the discussions, the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC) is said to have issued special instructions to the Secretary of Defence. Accordingly, the US Department of Defence in collaboration with the Army Corps, Coast Guard and Marine Administration received instructions to initiate operations to build a new military base in the Arctic.
The increasing Russian activities were also mentioned when the orders were issued. The instructions of the Senate Armed Services Committee were indicative of the new US base in the Arctic aiming to curb the rising Russian activities. At the same time, the base has been notified to deploy radar systems, missiles and military units. Furthermore, the Senate Armed Services Committee underscored that icebergs were extensively melting in the Arctic and therefore creating new northern trade routes.
The USARAK is a United States military command operational in Alaska, which forms a part of the Arctic and is a US state. Even though the US Navy, as well as the US Air Force, is functional in the region, a separate Arctic military command has not been established as yet. Taking advantage of the US vulnerability, Russia has initiated aggressive activities in the Arctic with a minimum of three bases which are active in the Arctic.
Given the developments, the US Congress has highlighted that the United States requires an independent military base in the Arctic marine region. Only last month, Commander of the US Northern Command, General Terrence O’Shaughnessy, drew attention to the perceived threats in the Arctic region. The Arctic has become the First Line of Defence for the United States, given the increasing activities of Russia and China in the region, Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy had claimed.
Moreover, even US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had underlined the significance of the region while speaking at the Arctic Council Summit, stating that the Arctic seaways could become the 21st century Suez or Panama canals.