Canada mulling Arctic military bases

July 14, 2011 at 7:41 AM

OTTAWA, July 14 (UPI) -- Canada's military is developing plans to install bases in the arctic as international interest in oil increases, the Toronto Star reported Thursday.

The newspaper said the Conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is bracing for showdowns with Denmark, Norway, Russia and the United States over arctic oil and mineral rights, along with shipping lanes as the northern ice cap shrinks.

"To maintain its sovereignty over its northern region, Canada will need to develop enforcement and surveillance capabilities for the arctic," the report says.

The military study is proposing small far-northern military bases with landing strips to accommodate C-17 transport aircraft that carry large numbers of troops, helicopters and support equipment, the Star said.

The study the newspaper saw is still in the draft stage and suggests the most cost-effective and tactically effective first base should be in Rankin Inlet in the territory of Nunavut, on the western shore of Hudson's Bay.

The concept of creating small Canadian military hubs is growing. Earlier this week, Defense Minister Peter MacKay was in Kuwait and signed an agreement that allows Canadian forces to use the gulf country as a stopover in moving troops and equipment in and out of Afghanistan, the report said.

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