Event Organized by Islamabad Policy Research Institute
Seminar: “Middle Power Countries’ Diplomacy on Global Issues:
MIKTA and South Asian Countries”
The Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI) in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Korea and the Institute of Foreign Affairs and National Security, organised a seminar on the theme of “Middle power countries’ diplomacy on global issues.” The intention was to explore cooperation and commonality of issues between South Asian counties and a mini-lateral group comprised of Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey and Australia, called MIKTA.
Though the member states are spread in different continents, what makes them an organic entity is the need and necessity to address humanitarian, socio-ecological as well as trade and pandemic issues in a world that is more interconnected and interdependent than it ever was.
Australia’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Geoffrey Shaw, Ambassador of the Republic of Indonesia Adam Mulawarman Tugio and Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey Ihsan Mustafa, who were panel speakers, brought to fore the indispensability of forging renewed cooperation not only among the member states but also between the regions.
Brig. Raashid Wali Janjua, Acting President and Director Research IPRI, termed the seminar proceedings’ as a brainchild of the embassy of Republic of Korea, and stressed on the efficacy of middle powers in confronting today’s challenges in a competitive environment.
The Ambassador of Republic of Korea, Suh Sangpyo appreciated and praised the on-going cooperation with the National Security Division of Pakistan for organising the seminar. He said the very concept of interaction between the two countries has led to “increase in awareness in all areas.”
He praised Pakistan’s role and termed it as a key player in the region. “We want to find more avenues of cooperation between MIKTA and South Asia,” he observed.
Aamir Hasan, Secretary of National Security Division, remarked, “We are passing through a global transition and the current pandemic is a case in point.” He said most powerful countries cannot cope with emerging challenges, and this is where diplomacy of middle power countries’ has a role to play.
He said, “In today’s modern diplomacy, multilateral organisations, alliances and blocs are the emerging order of the day. We are entering into a multipolar world, and this is where middle powers diplomacy assumes importance.”
National Security Advisor Dr Moeed Yusuf, in his video message, observed that the idea is to “come together, and pool intellectual discourse.” He said, “We want to make such interactions a regular feature among think tanks; and underscored the need for Track-2 type of dialogue between the think tanks.”
Kim Joon Hyung, Chancellor of Korea National Diplomacy Academy (KNDA), talked of the association between KNDA and IPRI, and termed their decade long cooperation as “a forward looking moment.” He said the powers of respective countries have changed and, thus, they demand new diplomatic initiatives and measures. He made it a point to spell out Pakistan’s earnest role in the emerging middle power diplomacy; and termed it as instrumental in realising stability and prosperity of Indo-Pacific region.
Ham Sang Wook, Deputy Minister for Multilateral and Global Affairs, said the launch of MIKTA has come a long way, since its inception on the side-lines of the 68th UN General Assembly. He stressed on the need to further the scope and “diversify dialogue channels”, especially in terms of an ‘effective disease response.’ He also said that strong multilateralism can help promote national cooperation.
Seonjou Kang of IFANS, in her cyber message, said, “Middle powers should exercise leadership to restore global stability and cooperation.” Middle powers possess top-30 global economies with more than $1 trillion GDP, but pose no military threat to their neghbours, she added.
Lee Kyung-Chul, Special Representative of the Republic of Korea for Afghanistan and Pakistan, underscored enhanced cooperation for democracy and free trade; and said that member states should “share information to have more weight in international affairs.”
In a threadbare discussion supplemented by the moderator Huma Baqai, Associate Professor of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts IBA, Ambassador Mulawarman reiterated that MIKTA has a role in the changing global order as it is poised to deal with complex problems, in avenues ranging from information technology, climate change to self-financing and national security.
Likewise, Ambassador Ihsan Mustafa pointed out two pivotal areas i.e., post-Covid cooperation and the “new international order”. He said not all see eye-to-eye in G20, and there will be more pressure on gender equality, working environment and the status of labour as a code of conduct between developing and middle power countries. He coined a term, “Rule-based order is needed.”
High Commissioner of Australia Geoffrey Shaw said the crux of MIKTA is to further multinational cooperation. He said continued uncertainty and institutional strains are some of the problems; and called for a transparent system to be evolved, as the “the world is geo-strategically competitive.”