Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

EXCLUSIVE: GREF comes into being to counter anti-CPEC moves


Pakistan, China together with Iran and Russia establish think- tank; Turkey and Afghanistan may also be included at later stage; GREF meant to protect economic interests of member countries

By Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

ISLAMABAD, DEC 21 (DNA)-  Pakistan and China together with Iran and Russia have conceived a joint strategy to effectively counter particularly the Indian moves against China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for which Golden Ring Economic Forum (GREF) has been established.

The bloc that would mainly focus on economic challenges being faced by the member countries, is likely to reduce especially Pakistani’s economic dependence on other countries, including the United States of America.

The group of dedicated businessmen and scholars who have organized themselves into GREF, beginning with a realization of the importance of international linkages as the key starting point, have commenced their contacts with counterpart groups and institutions in partner countries identified, with the objective of establishing a grouping for the furtherance of the strategic economic interests of all countries concerned.

According to sources, GREF is a policy think tank formed by a group of leading businessmen, ex-civil and military officials and scholars to work on national strategic economic issues. It’s main direction of activities is to provide advisory and consultative services to governments for making policy framework on related issues and doing lobbying for Pakistan in member countries.

Initially, GREF’S main focus will be on China, Iran and Russia. In future, Afghanistan, Turkey and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries may be added.


Pakistan’s location in the region is very important. It is sitting on the mouth of Persian Gulf close to the Strait of Hormuz in the South and bordering Central Asia and China in the North, becoming the shortest route to warm waters.

With China’s “One Belt One Road” initiative, Russian initiative to build energy corridors towards west and south with Iran and the CAR’s and the recently announced China Pakistan Economic Corridor these countries will be interlinked further with energy and communication infrastructure.

Over the years countries have realized that working together for mutual economic growth leads to mutual benefits for all involved. Economic blocks have emerged over the years towards mutual benefits of the countries involved.

Working together these five countries can also devise mutual beneficial strategies to counter the adverse effect of other groups and cooperation’s in the field of economy.

It is with end that the idea of creating a policy research think-tank named as the “GOLDEN RING ECONOMIC FORUM” was born. The concept of “Ring came from the fact that China, Russia, Turkey, Iran and Pakistan form a ring around the Caspian Sea and the Central Asian Republics and “Golden” stands for abundance of resources.

The mission of this organization is to assist the government towards the development of common and joint strategic economic interests and their security leading to formation of a new economic bloc.

A policy think tank working for the formulation of strategic economic policy framework through research, multilateral discussions and interactions for developing common strategic economic interests towards establishing a new economic bloc

In order to play its role in the attainment of the national objectives identified above, GREF has adopted the approach of collaboration with friendly countries, facilitating the development of common and joint strategic economic interests and their security leading to the formation of a new economic bloc.

The founder member countries are China, Iran, Pakistan and Russia. Further members from CIS countries and Turkey may be added in future with mutual unanimous consent of founder members.

 The founder countries identified occupy a pivotal position in the global economy; based on various indicators, such as prevailing currency exchange rates/ purchasing power parity, the combined size of the economies of these countries would exceed 20% of the global total.

It is considered by GREF that such collaboration will provide synergy in the further development of all member countries, since their economies are in many respects complementary.

By combining regions of widely differing natural characteristics such as climate and geography, which have taken varying paths of political and economic development, the relative strengths of all partner countries offer the potential of mutual benefit on account of shared goals.

In its relatively brief of endeavour, contacts have already been established by GREF with state institutions in the partner countries as well as with their diplomatic representatives in Pakistan.

Senior GREF representatives have attended international conferences in Russia and China, and delegations have visited Iran and other countries in order to further the development of mutual immediate and strategic economic relations.

Despite the intensity of the current controversies relating to economic blocs, there appears to be an underlying realization worldwide of the vital role in the longer term perspective of the concept of strategic economic partnerships.

 The partner countries in the present effort have also expressed considerable interest in pursuing this initiative, following the contacts made as described in the section above.=DNA

  • NOTE: Detailed article on GREF to be published in the Jan 2018 issue of Centreline. (


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