NEW DELHI: Vehicles with Indian registration would be able to transport passengers and goods across the border to Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal in the coming days, once an agreement in this regard is inked.
The Union Cabinet has approved the signing of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement for passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic among those countries, an agreement for which would be signed on June 15 at the BBIN Transport Minister’s meeting in Thimpu, Bhutan. Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari would represent India at the meet.
To make use of the agreement, the vehicles should have a BBIN permit. Buses would be the first to run using this permit.
Later, private vehicles would be allowed to make use of the facility.
The agreement would promote safe, economical, efficient and an environmentally-sound road transport in the sub-region. It would further help each country in creating an institutional mechanism for regional integration.
The BBIN countries would benefit via mutual cross-border movement of passenger and goods. It would help in overall economic development of the region. Each party would bear its own costs, arising from the implementation of the agreement.
In February, a meeting of the secretaries of transport of the BBIN countries was conducted by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to discuss and finalise the text of the draft BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement, which is similar to the Saarc Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) draft with minor changes.
The Union Cabinet had approved a proposal to sign the Saarc MVA during the Saarc Summit in Kathmandu in November last year. Unfortunately, it could not be signed as Pakistan expressed its reservations.
The Saarc declaration had also encouraged member states to initiate regional and sub-regional measures to enhance connectivity. Accordingly, it was considered appropriate that a sub-regional motor vehicle agreement among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal may be pursued.