India Granted Observer Status in Arctic Council

new arctic

  • On 15 May 2013 at the eighth biennial ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council convened in Kiruna, Sweden the Council agreed to include six new nations, including India and China, as observers to their eight-state diplomatic council.
  • Besides China and India, the other countries granted observer status are Italy, Japan, South Korea and Singapore.
  • It is to be noted that Observer status is open to non-Arctic states approved by the Council at the Ministerial Meetings that occur once every two years.
  • As of May 2013, 12 non-Arctic states have Permanent Observer status.
  • The council comprises eight Arctic nations: Canada, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Sweden and the United States of America.
  • Only states with territory in the Arctic can be members of the Council.
  • Chairmanship of the Council rotates every two years.
  • The current chair is Canada, which serves until the Ministerial meeting in May 2015.
  • It is estimated that the Arctic holds 13 percent of the world’s undiscovered oil reserves, and 30 percent of undiscovered gas deposits.
  • That’s why membership to the Arctic Council has become increasingly attractive as with the melting Arctic ice the region’s waterways have become open to commercial shipping traffic.
  • In April, 2013 scientists at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a study that predicted the Arctic will be ice-free by 2050, much earlier than previous estimates.

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