"Military forces have a large amount of civilian tasks in the Arctic. For instance, search and rescue operations in case of distress at sea. Also pollution control. And indeed fisheries inspection," Mikkel Runge Olesen, researcher in conflict potential and continental shelf claims in the Arctic, explained the build-up to the Danish TV-channel TV2. "As the Arctic becomes gradually more opened as a result of the global warming, all the tasks are becoming more expensive. So, from this perspective, it is no wonder that the Danish armed forces need to be provided with more money."
Despite the Danish build-up in the Arctic being assessed by local experts as "soft," it will most likely lead to further confrontation with Russia, which, according to the Danish Institute for International Studies is "by far the strongest military power in the Arctic."
"The plans will certainly not be welcomed by Russian leaders," Kortunov said to Jyllands-Posten, referring to the tensions between NATO and Russia.
According to Olesen, however, Russia can take it easy as its status as the strongest power in the Arctic remains unquestioned.
"Anyway, hundreds of millions [of kroner] is hardly something that will tip the military balance in the Arctic. Obviously, Russia remains the strongest military power in the region," Olesen said.
At present, Russia, the United States, Canada, Denmark and Norway have all been trying to assert jurisdiction over parts of the Arctic, making territorial claims over the polar waters, which are believed to hold up to a quarter of the planet's undiscovered oil and gas.