In this Lowy Institute Analysis, Anna Powles and Jose Sousa-Santos argue that Russia’s sale of arms to Fiji underlines how the security orthodoxy in the Pacific Islands region is changing. Unless Australia and New Zealand adapt to these changing strategic circumstances they will lose influence in the region to external players.
- The security orthodoxy in the Pacific Islands region is changing as new external actors play a greater role in the region, and local states engage in ‘new Pacific diplomacy’, placing Australia’s and New Zealand’s influence in the region at risk.
- Australia and New Zealand should undertake a principled rebuilding of defence ties with Fiji.
- The rebuilding of defence ties could include the establishment of a regional centre of excellence for peacekeeping, the creation of a Pacific disaster response and coordination unit, and greater engagement of Fiji through regional defence forums.