A meeting of India, Bangladesh, and Nepal on the BBIN MVA was held at New Delhi on March 7-8, 2022. Bhutan participated in the meeting as an observer. The Indian delegation was led by Ms. Smita Pant, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs. Bangladesh delegation was led by Mr. A.T.M. Rokebul Haque, Director General (South Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Nepalese delegation was led by Mr. Keshab Kumar Sharma, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport. The Bhutanese observer team was led by Mr. Thinley Norbu, First Secretary, Royal Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi.
The meeting was held to discuss the Passenger and Cargo Protocols that are essential to operationalise the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal and Cargo Vehicular Traffic between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, signed on June 15, 2015. This is the first meeting of the group since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The last meeting was held in February 2020 in New Delhi.
During the meeting an enabling MoU 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 was finalised. Recalling the commitments made at the highest level for implementation of the BBIN MVA, the delegations expressed their desire to sign the MoU at the earliest to give momentum to the implementation.
The countries emphasized the importance of operationalising the BBIN MVA expeditiously to enable seamless movement between them for facilitating trade and people-to-people contact. 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 delegates agreed on specific steps and timelines to expeditiously finalise the Passenger and Cargo Protocols for the implementation of the BBIN MVA. Asian Development Bank provided technical and knowledge support to the meeting.