Arctic Yearbook 2014 - Page 383

383 Arctic Yearbook 2014   by its affiliation to earlier Nordic defence cooperation schemes such as NORDCORP, its stake in the current Nordic framework organization NORDEFCO,17 and frequent joint participation with the Nordics in High Northern force exercises (eg Arctic Challenge, which focused on air patrolling between Finland, Norway and Sweden in September 2013). Bilateral ties are also strong, as reflected in the intensifying UK/Norway defence cooperation cited by Depledge and Dodds as a significant part of the background to the UK Arctic ‘strategy’.18 Last and not least, UK force representatives were invited to the Helsinki meeting in 2013 of the Arctic Security Forces Roundtable, an informal group first formed by the eight Arctic Council states to discuss topics of search and rescue and other military inputs to emergency management.19 While Nordic governments with very rare exceptions20 have welcomed this British commitment to their region’s defence, it has not failed to raise its share of environmental concerns, notably after an incident in 2007 when a British submarine suffered an explosion when patrolling near the North Pole and had to surface through the polar ice.21 The sum of these factors may seem to raise the question why a UK ‘strategy’ document on the Arctic was not produced much earlier. Indeed, the idea of such a publication was mooted at least five years before the present paper appeared. From the start, it involved close consultation especially with the British Antarctic Survey (which cove