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Denmark Stakes on Drones and Greenlanders to Back its Arctic Claims

© AP Photo / Brennan LinsleyIceberg floats in the sea near Qeqertarsuaq, Disko Island, Greenland
Iceberg floats in the sea near Qeqertarsuaq, Disko Island, Greenland - Sputnik International
Recently, the Kingdom of Denmark has been focusing on its Arctic domains. Besides making a territorial claim on large swaths of the Arctic, Denmark is all set to bolster its military presence in the region. Copenhagen aims to launch satellite and drone surveillance, but is also counting on Greenlanders to strengthen the region's security.

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Earlier this month, Denmark and Greenland presented a joint claim to the continental shelf off the coast of Greenland for the Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf (CLCS) at the United Nations. The areas that Greenland and Denmark make a joint claim on lie south, northeast and north of Greenland and are said to contain large amounts of natural resources, as well as present fishing opportunities. The claim may take up to several years for consideration.

Meanwhile, Denmark spares no effort in bolstering its military presence in the area to support its demand. The Danish government's focus on the Arctic implies strengthening of the Arctic Command, bolstering satellite surveillance and launching extra ships between Greenland and the Faroe Islands. According to Defense Minister Peter Christensen, the government plans to spend an extra 120 million DKK (roughly $18.5 million) on various initiatives across the Arctic.

Additionally, the Danish government is staking on its Arctic domain Greenland to secure its defense priorities, Greenlandic Broadcasting Corporation KNR reported.

"The Arctic is a major priority, now and in the future. The government wants to strengthen its role in the Arctic. Among other things, we want more Greenlandic young people in the military and a stronger emergency response co-operation between Greenland and Denmark," Danish Defense Minister Peter Christensen said during his recent visit to the Arctic island.

Giant icebergs float in the fjord in Narsaq, southern Greenland. - Sputnik International
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Christensen's visit was accompanied by a major recruitment effort underway around the country to encourage more young Greenlandic men and women to seek an education in the Army. Additionally, a preparedness agreement between Denmark and Greenland was signed. Finally, the Danish Emergency Management Agency signed an agreement with Greenland's Directorate for Nature, Environment and Energy that allows Greenland to ask for emergency counselling and assistance.

According to Danish pundits, Copenhagen's claim to the North Pole should be backed up by a wider presence. At present, Denmark plans to rely on drones to cover hundreds of kilometers of the barren Arctic wasteland, Danish newspaper Politiken reported.

"It's hard to get a proper overview of the land or even detect which ships are sailing in the area. Compared to what you can see from the ground or from a ship, you can see much more from a satellite or a high-flying drone, senior scientist Jens Olaf Pepke Pedersen from DTU Space told KNR.

The Kingdom of Denmark constitutes Denmark proper and the two overseas constituent countries, the Faroe Islands (population 50,000) and Greenland (population 55,000), which achieved home rule in 1948 and 1979. The Danish Commonwealth's current claims overlap with separate claims made by Russia, Canada, Norway and Iceland, and it is now up to the CLCS to process the claims — something that could take years.

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