India inks transport deal with 3 Saarc countries

India inks transport deal with 3 Saarc countries

India on Monday signed a landmark motor vehicles pact with three Saarc nations — Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal.

The deal will enable seamless transit of passenger and cargo vehicles in the three countries. Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari signed the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) for regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic along with transport ministers of the other three nations at Bhutan’s capital Thimpu. The minister also announced on the occasion that India, Myanmar and Thailand have agreed to develop a similar pact on the lines of the draft Saarc Motor vehicle agreement. “Soon, the pact will be signed,” he said.

The BBIN MVA will not only reduce transport costs, but also foster development of multi-modal transport and transit facilities, enabling increased connectivity and promotion of greater trade between the four countries, he said.

As per the agreement, the four countries will carry out a six-month work plan from July for the implementation of the BBIN MVA in accordance with the preparation of bilateral, perhaps trilateral or quadrilateral agreements and protocols, installation of the prerequisites for implementing the approved agreements, among others.

Transforming transport corridors into economic corridors could potentially increase intra-regional trade within South Asia by almost 60 per cent and with the rest of the world by over 30 per cent.

In order to promote development of land transport that will connect supply and demand centres in the BBIN countries, earlier a meeting of the Transport Secretaries of the four countries had identified 30 priority transport connectivity projects with a total estimated cost of over $8 billion.

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