IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


17th August, 2023 Geography

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India's increasing engagement with Russia's Arctic region, particularly focusing on the strengthening trade relationship and exploration of the Northern Sea Route (NSR).


  • India-bound goods comprise the largest share of cargo handled by Murmansk, Russia's main northern gateway.
  • Murmansk port handled 8 million tonnes of cargo in the first seven months of 2023, with India accounting for 35%.
  • Deputy Director of JSC Murmansk Sea Commercial Port mentioned that the majority is coal destined for India's eastern coast.
  • Turkey and China also use Murmansk port, with Turkey accounting for 34% and China for 13% of cargo.

Involvement in the Northern Sea Route (NSR)

  • NSR is the shortest route connecting Europe and Asia-Pacific, providing record supplies of energy resources for India.
  • Rosatom State Nuclear Energy Corporation emphasizes the importance of the NSR for India's economy.
  • The NSR includes icebound seas like Kara, Laptev, East Siberian, and Chukchi, necessitating icebreaking operations.
  • FSUE Atomflot, a subsidiary of Rosatom, operates nuclear-powered icebreakers for safe navigation.

Comparison with Suez Canal and Route Efficiency

  • NSR reduces the gap between Europe and Asia-Pacific countries, possibly as an alternative to the Suez Canal.
  • Murmansk to Yokohama via NSR is 6,000 NM; the traditional route is 13,000 NM.
  • Rosatom believes NSR's efficiency, safety, and nuclear-powered icebreakers can reduce the carbon footprint of maritime transport.
  • NSR's cargo traffic increased from 3.87 million tonnes in 2012 to approximately 34 million tonnes in 2022.

India-Russia Sea-Corridor Proposal

  • India and Russia consider a sea-corridor proposal linking Chennai and Vladivostok for transit container traffic.
  • A transport and logistics hub in Vladivostok would reduce delivery time and increase route profitability.
  • The corridor project could enhance trade between India, Far East countries, and boost cargo transportation between ports.
  • Rosatom seeks Indian shipping company participation to develop transit container traffic along the NSR.

Utilizing Arctic Knowledge and Scientific Activity

  • Rosatom encourages Indian participation in Arctic projects to develop competence in the Arctic sea container line and maritime services.
  • India's knowledge about the Arctic could lead to innovative ideas for national maritime sector development 

About Murmansk Port

  • Murmansk Port serves as a crucial gateway for trade and transportation in Russia's Arctic region.

Location and Importance

  • Murmansk is situated about 2,000 km northwest of Moscow, making it a vital maritime link between Europe and the Arctic region.
  • The port's proximity to the Arctic Ocean grants it access to the NSR, a shorter shipping route that offers potential advantages over traditional routes like the Suez Canal.

Coal Transportation

  • Coal is a primary commodity shipped through Murmansk Port, with a significant portion destined for India's eastern coast.
  • The port's role in facilitating coal transportation underscores its importance in supporting energy supply chains and trade between Russia and India.


Q) Consider the following statements about Murmansk Port

  1. Murmansk Port is located in the southern part of Russia.
  2. Murmansk Port serves as a key gateway to Russia's Arctic region and the Northern Sea Route.

Select the correct statements using the code below:

(a)    1 only

(b)    2 only

(c)     Both 1 and 2

(d)    Neither 1 nor 2

Answer: B