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MOSCOW, July 27. /TASS/. Revision of Russia’s maritime doctrine stems from the latest changes in the global political environment: the expansion of NATO’s infrastructures towards Russian borders, the reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia, the priority development of the Arctic and steps to gain a firmer foothold in the Asia-Pacific Region, polled experts have told TASS.
Last Sunday, marked in Russia as Navy Day, President Vladimir Putin approved amendments to the maritime doctrine - the key document of planning the nation’s maritime policies. The revised maritime doctrine identifies six key areas: the Atlantic, the Arctic, the Pacific, the Caspian, the Indian Ocean and the Antarctic. The doctrine points to the need for restoring the presence of the Russian Navy in the Mediterranean. "The Atlantic was identified as number one priority. Of late, the North Atlantic Alliance showed rather active expansion towards our borders. Naturally, Russia cannot but provide a response to this," Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin said at a conference at the presidential office.
"Promotion of friendly relations with China and the build-up of positive interaction with other states in the region is a major component of the national maritime policies in the Pacific," the doctrine says. In the Indian Ocean the document points to the development of friendly relations with India as the main development guideline.
Under the state program for armaments, 4.7 trillion roubles is to be invested into the development of the Russian Navy. The list of naval ships due to enter duty looks as follows: eight strategic submarines Borei of project 955 and as many multi-role nuclear powered submarines Yasen of project 885, eight frigates of project 22350 and six frigates of project 11356, as well as 35 corvettes (including 18 ships of project 20380 and 20385, six missile boats Buyan of project 21360 and six amphibious assault ships of project 11711.
The leading research fellow at the centre for military and political studies of the RAS Institute of US and Canada Studies, Yuri Morozov, believes that the maritime doctrine puts such a major emphasis on the Arctic because, as the ice cap melts, the importance of the Northern Sea Route grows. "This is precisely the reason why Russia is stepping up efforts to build its own icebreaker fleet capable of escorting sea convoys along Russia’s coast. Besides, the Arctic gives Russia unlimited access to the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. And the huge hydrocarbon resources make the Arctic an area of tough competition among the countries eager to develop them," Morozov told TASS.
The president of the International Centre for Geopolitical Analysis, Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, retired, agrees.
"The struggle for Arctic resources is bound to expand over years to come. The United States has launched a major program for armaments in the Arctic, split the region into zones of responsibility among its allies and is in fact creating NATO’s Arctic twin," Ivashov said. "In the meantime, Russia in the 1980s and 1990s in fact quit the Arctic. There was no radar coverage at all. In the meantime, the North Atlantic Alliance was systematically building up its presence in the Arctic and holding daily military exercises. Moreover, the United States and some of its allies refuse to recognize some Arctic areas, such as that of the Mendeleyev and Lomonosov ridges belong to Russia. Therefore, the status of the Arctic as a priority guideline of Russia’s maritime doctrine looks quite reasonable," Ivashov told TASS.
"In the Mediterranean Russia uses some strategically important shipping routes. It is beyond doubt it should maintain and develop relations with such friendly countries as Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen in order to enhance naval presence in the Middle East and in Central Asia," Ivashov believes.
And the president of the National Strategy Institute, Mikhail Remizov, called for remembering Russia had just two ways of access to the World Ocean - one for the Northern Fleet and one for the Pacific Fleet. Russia has always been a Pacific power. "Therefore it is extremely important to strengthen Russia’s presence in the Pacific, which is connected with the Indian Ocean and the World Ocean. It is important for the development of Russia’s ocean-going fleet, and not just the coastal fleet," Remizov told TASS.
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