India-Russia talks to develop Northern Sea Shipping Route
Recently Russia is in talks with India to develop the Northern Sea Route (NSR).
Port of Murmansk, the starting point of the Northern Sea Route, has seen an increase in Indian cargo traffic. India accounts for 35 percent of the cargo handled by this port.
Northern Sea Route (NSR):
- It is the shortest shipping route connecting Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. Spread over 5,600 km, it passes through the four seas of the Arctic Ocean.
- The route begins at the boundary between the Barents and Kara Seas (Kara Strait) and ends at the Bering Strait (Provideniya Bay).
- The NSR offers potential distance savings of up to 50% compared to existing shipping lanes via Suez or Panama.
Significance of Northern Sea Route:
- Using the NSR will save about 30-40 per cent of energy and time compared to the Suez Canal route commonly used by ships.
- The length of the NSR is approximately one-third less than the length of the conventional waterway via the Suez Canal. The risk of piracy on this route is negligible.
- The operation of this route will make exploration, exploitation and transportation of natural resources present in the Arctic region easier.
- Russia continues to claim sovereignty over the NSR. Violating the principle of freedom of navigation in this route can lead to geo-strategic conflicts.
- Due to the fog in the Arctic region, the shipping operation period will be reduced.
- The increased movement of ships on the NSR will harm the environment of the Arctic. In addition, the ship operating cost is also likely to increase.
Source – The Hindu