Denmark increases budget for the Arctic | Polarjournal
The F357-Thetis is one of four large patrol boats of the Royal Danish Navy. The vessels’ tasks are mainly for the maintenance of sovereignty, search and rescue, fisheries inspection and assistance to local authorities. The areas of operation are normally Greenland and the Faroe Islands. (Photo: Wikipedia)

Denmark currently has only one aircraft, four helicopters and four ships to monitor the Arctic in Greenland. In addition to enforcing sovereignty, they take care of fisheries control and search and rescue operations. The government now decided on February 11, 2021, that it will strengthen its defense capabilities in the Arctic. Long-range drones and radar are to be used.

Greenland is an autonomous part of Denmark. Around 89% of Greenland is glaciated. As a result of climate change, areas that have been virtually inaccessible until now are increasingly being developed. Approximately 56,000 people live on the largest island in the world, which corresponds to 0.026 inhabitants per m². (Image: Heiner Kubny)

Climate change is not only a challenge to protect nature, it also poses dangers from a strategic point of view. As sea ice shrank, a race began between world powers for control of resources and waterways. There are hardly any limits to creativity.

The United States has also increased its focus on the Arctic and Greenland in recent years. Former President Donald Trump offered to buy Greenland from Denmark in 2019. The outcry was great.

In addition, China is trying to mine mineral resources in Greenland, and the Greenlanders have been at loggerheads with Canada for some time over an uninhabited island in the Nares Strait. Russia has also been trying to strengthen its economic and military presence in the Arctic for some time. Also showing their interest in the Arctic are Canada, the USA, Norway and China.

Hans Island is a small, uninhabited and vegetationless island about 1.25 km² in size, to which both Canada and Denmark lay claim. For the first time the Canadians raise their flag and a few weeks later the Danes.

“We have seen an increase in foreign activity in the Arctic and North Atlantic. We need better surveillance and presence in the region – not to escalate conflicts, but because we need to take the threats seriously,” Defence Minister Trine Bramsen said in a statement.

As reported by the Danish channel TV 2, the government in Copenhagen wants to spend 1.5 billion Danish kroner (200 million euros) to monitor Greenland. For example, various initiatives are expected to be launched in 2023, but it may then take several years before they are fully implemented.

Heiner Kubny, PolarJournal

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