India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal held a two-day meeting here to discuss passenger and cargo protocols to operationalise the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) for the regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic among the participant countries, the Ministry of External Affairs said on Tuesday.
Bhutan participated as an observer in the meeting.
According to MEA officials, this BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) agreement was signed on June 15, 2015 and the last meeting was held in February 2020 in New Delhi.
During the meeting, an enabling MoU was finalised to be signed by India, Bangladesh and Nepal for implementation of the BBIN MVA by the three countries, pending ratification of the MVA by Bhutan.
Recalling the commitments made at the highest level for the implementation of the BBIN MVA, the delegations expressed their desire to sign the MoU at the earliest to give momentum to the implementation.
The participating countries emphasised the importance of operationalising the BBIN MVA expeditiously to enable seamless movement between them for facilitating trade and people-to-people contact, officials said.
“Operationalising the MVA by concluding the ‘Passenger and the Cargo Protocol’ will help realise the full potential of trade and people to people connectivity between the BBIN countries by fostering greater sub-regional cooperation,” the MEA said in a statement on Tuesday.
The delegates also agreed on specific steps and timelines to expeditiously finalise the passenger and cargo protocols for the implementation of the BBIN MVA.
The Asian Development Bank provided technical and knowledge support to the meeting.
The Indian delegation was led by MEA Joint Secretary Smita Pant, while the Bangladesh delegation was led by Director General (South Asia) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, A.T.M. Rokebul Haque.
The Nepalese delegation was led by Keshab Kumar Sharma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, while the Bhutanese observer team was led by Thinley Norbu, First Secretary, Royal Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi.