BBIN cooperation on water, power, connectivity carried forward

New Delhi, Jan 22 (IANS) Sub-regional cooperation in water resources management and power and hydropower, and on connectivity and transit was carried forward between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) during the third meetings of the joint working groups (JWGs), the external affairs ministry said in a statement on Friday.

During the meetings, held in Dhaka on January 19-20, many new initiatives for deepening sub-regional cooperation were identified and deliberated upon, the statement said.

“The JWG on water resources management and power and hydropower carried forward earlier discussions on scope for power trade and inter-grid connectivity cooperation in future power projects and water resources management between the four countries. Specific hydropower projects under BBIN framework that could be concretised on equitable basis were discussed,” it stated.

According to the statement, it was decided that an experts’ group will be constituted for exchanging best practices in water resources management and on specifics of the identified projects, power trade, inter grid connectivity, flood forecasting and other areas of possible cooperation.

“The JWG on connectivity and transit reviewed progress under the BBIN MVA (Motor Vehicle Agreement) and made recommendations relevant to this process,” it stated.

“It was agreed to commence discussion on the possibility of having a BBIN Rail Agreement drawing on the draft Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) Regional Rail Agreement template. It was also agreed that land ports and land customs stations crucial for sub-regional trade and transit would be given priority attention by all four countries.”

The next meeting of the JWGs will be held in India in the second half of this year.

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