Officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) agreed to expeditiously finalize the passenger and cargo protocols for implementation of the BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA).
The agreement came at the official level meeting of the four countries held in New Delhi on Sunday to discuss the passenger and cargo protocols that are to give effect to the Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA), according to a joint statement issued by the Indian Ministry of External Affairs on Sunday evening.
The BBIN MVA was signed on June 15, 2015 to regulate the movement of passenger, personnel and good among the four countries. This is the first meeting of the group since their meeting in Bengaluru in January 2018, when the two protocols were last discussed.
Mohammad Sarwar Mahmood, Director General (South Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs led the Bangladesh delegation to the meeting that agreed to “endeavor to revert by May 2020 on the process of internal consultations by respective countries based on the discussions of the meeting”.
Gopal Prasad Sigdel, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport of Nepal and Vikram Doraiswami, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, India led their respective sides.
Besides, representatives of Bhutan participated in the meeting in an observer capacity as decided by the Royal government of Bhutan earlier. The Bhutanese observer team was led by Pem Tshering, Legal Officer, Ministry of Information and Communications.
The meeting recalled commitments made at the highest political level for implementation of the BBIN MVA and the importance of trade, economic cooperation and people-to-people contact, through enhanced regional connectivity, including through facilitation of regional cross-border road transport.
The delegation members expressed satisfaction over progress made by each country in internal consultations with their stake-holders for the protocol for movement of passengers.
They also discussed in detail various aspects of the draft protocol for movement of cargo vehicles, discussing the existing draft text jointly for the first time. In this regard, the three delegations reaffirmed their understanding that the BBIN MVA safeguards the rights and obligations of all parties under other international agreements and bilateral agreements within the group, including those relating to landlocked countries.
The officials discussed a draft enabling MoU to be signed by Bangladesh, India and Nepal for implementation of the BBIN MVA, bearing in mind the consent provided by the government of Bhutan for the entry into force of the MVA among Bangladesh, India and Nepal without obligation to Bhutan, pending the completion by Bhutan of its internal procedures for ratification of the BBIN MVA.
The delegations of Bangladesh, India and Nepal agreed to consider expediting the finalisation of this MoU, expressing gratitude to Bhutan for offering its consent in this regard, the statement said, reports BSS.