An overview of preferences and opportunities under MIKTA

By Khalid
Taimur Akram

In the 21st Century C.E., the structure of liberal economic and political order with relevance to institutionshas experienced a potential transformation. After the U.S. hegemonic decline and the 2008 global financial crisis, middle power countries have emerged with strong economic indicators to play a pivotal role in global governance. In this regard, the material capabilities and decisive roles of middle powers are major determinates in international relations and global policy behaviors. The middle powers have significant status in the international arena amid their global position and multilateral partnerships or outreach. The new millennium has allowed middle powers to integrate themselves and provide pervasivegrounds for cooperation in international politics. Moreover, the transforming dynamics of today’s political and economicdiscourse have brought advancednarratives to middle power multilateralism.
The emergence of a middle power in resolving global menaces and indulging in inclusive economic development can be observed under regionalism. New regionalism or regionalization has emerged as a significant trend in international affairs to connect nations. Along with the explicit benefits these processes bring, fundamental pillars of the new regionalism are institutions and organizations that provide integrated platforms to the countries. In this aspect, the group MIKTA (Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey, Australia) holds an important status in the world’s politics. The paper attempts to analyze the functionality and benefits of MIKTA in the present times. The study also highlights the potential of these emerging and advanced economies amid prospects for Pakistan.
Understanding Middle Powers’ Role in the Multipolar World: Before discussing the features and benefitsof MIKTA, it is pertinent to understand what a middle power is. The characteristics that define what country could be considered a middle power stateshould be liberal, aligning towards democratic structure, while having legitimate global political concerns. These countries rely on diplomacy and tend to lean towards multilateral foreign policy through forming coalitions. Thiskind of foreign policy is often called ‘Niche Diplomacy’. Niche Diplomacy means that states hold one approach and utilize all their resources and specializations in one direction to optimize maximum benefits. Middle powers are limited in the policy objectives and their power capabilities. Therefore, the theme followed by middle power states is mediation and peacemakers. Moreover, these countries are often considered legitimate brokers and stabilizers in the international system for conflict resolution. Their main focus remains to sustain global economic order, debt relief, nuclear non-proliferation, and human rights. These issues do not directly entangle or clash with the great powers’ vital interests and could be considered’soft ‘issues. There is such diverse literature on the middle powers with many perspectives and categorizations. Nevertheless, there are two major types of middle powers, i.e., traditional and emerging. The traditional middle power countries are stable, wealthy, socially democratic, andegalitarian. However, the emerging middle poweris considered more semi-peripheral, democratized, andshowsthe regional influence. The concept of middle power is not new to international relations. Nonetheless, the emerging dynamics of middle powers are laying new paradigms in their changing world’s scenarios.
A Brief Prelude and Peculiarity of MIKTA: MIKTA, a pure middle power multilateral structure, provides a strong and successful institutional framework. MIKTA members have been playing a proactive role in achieving their foreign policy objectives. The association of this group was established in 2013 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly. Later the continued meetingsamong member countries had paved the way for its progress. MIKTA countries have diverse traditions, cultures, norms, and values. However, their sustainable integration reflects its unique characteristics and features. MIKTA provides a successful institutional framework that increases its members’ influence as regional or middle power countries. The group supports multilateralism and is inclined towards strengthening global governance. MIKTA’s vision statement outlines that
“MIKTA countries are like-minded on many of the global challenges of our time and are active contributors in major international forums. We have both the will and the capability to contribute to protecting public goods and strengthening global governance.’’
The vision above-mentioned clearly entails the commitment of MIKTA countries to rely on an effective global governance structure, a rule-based mechanism for international cooperation. Moreover, the MIKTA group is explicitly committed “to the purposes and principles of the United Nations (UN) Charter and other universally recognized norms governing international relations.”
All five member nations have a chair in the G20 table, enhancing transnational and unique features of MIKTA. The countries themselves have a distinguished place at the international level. Each state plays a dynamic role in its respective regions and beyond. For example, Indonesia has been emerging for the last two decades. It holds a potential position in the Asia Pacific region and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Turkey’s visibility in the regional and international arena has been increased and acknowledged. The country has been playing an active role in all international or regional platforms, including MIKTA.Therefore, Turkey strongly supports strengthening cooperation among MIKTA countries and is committed to improving multilateral partnerships to counter global menaces.
–The author is an Executive Director, CGSS, Islamabad