OPINION: Law professor Alexander Gillespie described a recent four-power Bay of Bengal naval exercise (India, Japan, Australia, France) as representing ‘’a foreign policy challenge as serious as any other this country currently faces’’.

On the face of it that’s an extraordinary statement – the Bay of Bengal is closer to the Mediterranean than it is to the Tasman Sea and only two of the four countries – Australia and Japan – could be regarded as close allies or partners of New Zealand.

Gillespie explains that the exercise is evidence of a wider geopolitical shift – the forging of an alliance based on the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue – ‘’Quad’’ for short – of four Indo-Pacific states: India, Australia, Japan and the United States, aimed at countering, in Gillespie’s words, a ‘’noticeably more aggressive China’’ in respect of which New Zealand ‘’has not been pushing as hard’’ as…

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