Moscow has invited New Delhi to explore potentially lucrative oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects in the Arctic. This could pave the way for India to be the first non-Arctic state to mine resources from the region.

India is one of the few major non-Arctic states other than China – both of whom were granted observer status in the Arctic Council in 2013 – to have a permanent research station in the region.

The Indian station called Himadri was set up at Spitsbergen, Svalbard, in Norway in 2008, about 1,200 kilometers from the North Pole, and is currently engaged in atmospheric, marine, geological, and climatic studies.

The Indian minister of oil and natural gas, Dharmendra Pradhan, accompanied by business leaders from Coal India (the world’s largest coal producing company), visited Russia’s Far East late last year to discuss a potential partnership.

According to Pradhan, India needs about 70 million tons of high-quality coal for its aluminum and steel industry. The Russian Ministry of the Far East and the Arctic underscored that Russia – the third largest producer of coal globally – can offer what India needs.

Significantly, the Taymyr coal basin in the Arctic region is estimated to have as much as 225 billion tons of high-quality fuel.

Russian coal giants Vostok Coal and Severnaya Zvezda have production licenses in the area and are gearing up to send millions of tons from a new terminal located near Dikson on the Kara Sea coast.

In addition to coal, India is also one of the largest and fastest growing liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets, and wants to get its hands on Russian LNG from the Arctic. Pradhan stated that India could join an Arctic LNG project led by Russian energy giant Novatek.

RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2020.

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