Leona Aglukkaq, Canada’s Minister of Health, is the current rotating Chairoerson of the Artic Council. Canada, the US, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Russia are the original members of the Artic Council founded in 1996.
On May 15, 2013, both India and China along with eight other countries were made “observers” at the Artic Council. This is considered a ‘foot in the door’ for the energy hungary Asian powers. Both China and India hope that climate change induced melting of polar ice will open up new venue for commercial exploitation of natural resources and trade via new shipping lanes, once considered inaccessible.
In 2008, United States Geological Survey claimed that 13% of the world’s untapped oil and 30% of natural gas reserves lie beneath the ice caps. As the ice recedes, shipping routes through the Bering Strait, an important passageway in the Northern Sea Route (NSR) will open up, shortening the distance between Asia and Europe considerably.
Stephen Harper government, has been suffering from Iranophobia since day one. It’s not happy to see China and India in the exclusively pro-Israel White Artic club. Harper’s foreign minister John Baird has been running a vicious campaign to convince Beijing and New Delhi to stop importing oil from Iran. Iran has world’s fourth largest known oil reserves, while second in natural gas reserves after Russia. Iran’s top foreign buyers are India, China, Japan and South Korea.
All BRICS members (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) maintain close political and trade relations with the Islamic Republic. Iran finds common grounds with BRICS.
“The Western approach toward Iran’s nuclear file and its unilateral sanctions are increasingly alienating the Iranians from the West and pushing it toward the ‘ East ‘. Although some might express reservations regarding the membership of Iran in the BRICS, citing the present standoff between the West and Iran over its nuclear program, but one can also argue that the inclusion of Iran in the group would alleviate the tension, created largely by biased Western policies. Iran’s constructive role in the BRICS could undoubtedly contribute to the goals for the establishment of a fairer international order,” says Nasser Saghafi-Ameri, former Iranian diplomat, scholar and author. Read the complete article here.
China and India in Canada?s Artic backyard | Rehmat's World