ISLAMABAD - Prior to President Xi Jinping's visit to Pakistan, a three-day conference in the picturesque Chinese island of Hainan decided to launch a new Joint Pakistan-China Think Tank dedicated solely to research and development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

According to a press statement issued here on Saturday, the newly-formed think tank "Research and Development International (RANDI)" will have two co-chairpersons: Zhao Baige, former minister and currently member of parliament and vice-chairperson of the foreign affairs committee of the National People's Congress, will be co-chair from the Chinese side and Senator Mushahid Hussain will be from Pakistani side.

"The new think tank is the first joint initiative of China and Pakistan, which will be dedicated to research on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor," said Senator Mushahid, emphasising that it would also provide an 'information corridor' to promote perspectives, data and information for policy-makers, students, specialists, scholars and companies of both countries.

The 'Information Corridor' will be organised by China's most prestigious university, Tsinghua University, under the supervision of Professor Li Xiguang, who is also director of the Centre of Pakistan Studies there, who also addressed the conference. The Pakistan secretariat of the new joint think tank, RANDI, will be located at the Pakistan-China Institute in Islamabad, while its China secretariat will be co-hosted by the CASS and the China Institute of Reform & Development (CIRD), two top Chinese think tanks.

A work plan for 2015 was also approved at the conference, which was attended, among others, by former finance minister Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, Chairman, Pakistan Red Crescent Society, Dr Saeed Ellahi, energy and economic experts including representatives of the Board of Investment, and Gwadar Development Authority.

The think tank will provide the institutional and intellectual foundation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, which has now become the flagship project of President Xi Jinping's vision of the Central Asian Economic Belt and the Maritime Silk Road.