Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal sign motor vehicles agreement

Four SAARC member-countries Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) signed a landmark Motor Vehicles Agreement for seamless movement  and regulation of passenger, personnel and cargo vehicular traffic among them in Thimphu today.
The agremeent will help integration of the region and its economic development, an official press release said.
The agreement was signed by Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari on behalf of India. 
Mr. Gadkari headed the Indian delegation at the Transport Ministers Conference of the BBIN. Others who participated included Mr. Obaidul Quader, Minister of Road Transport and Bridges of Bangladesh, Mr. Lyonpo D. N. Dhungyel, Minister of Information and Communications, Bhutan, and Mr. Bimalendra Nidhi, Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Nepal. 
“This indeed is a momentous achievement for all the four neighbours. This historic agreement will further promote our cooperation in trade and commerce apart from further cementing our age old cultural ties," Mr Gadkari told the meeting.
“The Motor Vehicles Agreement is the over arching framework to fulfill our commitment to enhance regional connectivity. This will need to be followed through with formulation of the required protocols and procedures in the shortest time possible to realize the ultimate objective of free movement of people and goods in the region. This would further need to be supplemented through building and upgrading roads, railways and waterways infrastructure energy Grids, communications and air links to ensure smooth cross border flow of goods, services, capital, technology and people. Taken together, this provides enormous opportunity for integration and development of our region," he said.
Mr Gadkari spoke about the initiatives taken to strengthen connectivity of the sub-region to ASEAN and mentioned the breakthrough achieved between India, Myanmar and Thailand.
"Three nations have agreed to develop a similar framework motor vehicle agreement on the lines of draft SAARC Motor vehicle agreement. Secretary level discussions were successfully concluded in Bengaluru this month and consensus has been reached on the text of Agreement. On conclusion of this agreement, our sub-region will get access to the larger ASEAN market through seamless passenger and cargo movement," he said.
In a joint statement released on the occasion, the Ministers of the four countries said, “The finalization of the BBIN MVA would allow us to move forward, in an accelerated fashion, with implementation of land transport facilitation arrangements between and among our countries. This, in turn, would enable the exchange of traffic rights and ease cross-border movement of goods, vehicles, and people, thereby helping expand people-to-people contact, trade, and economic exchanges between our countries."
"We will endeavor to accelerate the preparatory steps for the effective and sustainable implementation of the BBIN MVA, starting with the formulation, negotiation, and finalization of the necessary legal instruments and operating procedures. We recognize that the BBIN MVA is a complementary instrument to the existing transport agreements or arrangements at the bilateral levels that the Contracting Parties will continue to honor. Implementation difficulties, if any, will be resolved based on provisions of the BBIN MVA," it said.
A BBIN Friendship Motor Rally is planned to be held in October 2015 to highlight the sub-regional connectivity and the scope and opportunities for greater people-to-people contact and trade under the BBIN initiative, the release added.

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