Bangladesh, India and Nepal agreed on text of operating procedures for passenger vehicle movement (Passenger protocol) in sub-region under Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA).
Decision in this regard was taken at meeting of High-level officials of three countries held in Bengaluru, Karnataka. It was convened and chaired by India’s Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).
The passenger protocol agreed upon is document detailing procedures for cross-border movement of buses and private vehicles for transport facilitation in subregion. It will be signed by three countries after completing necessary internal approval processes in their government. The delegations participating countries also agreed to continue to conduct trial movement of cargo vehicles along scheduled routes from April 2018 onwards, before finalizing protocol for cargo vehicular movement.
BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA)
The landmark MVA was signed by Transport Ministers of BBIN countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) in Thimphu, Bhutan in June 2015. India, Bangladesh and Nepal have already ratified MVA and have agreed to start its implementation among three signatory countries. Bhutan will bandwagon them after it ratifies the agreement.
The agreement will permit member states to ply their vehicles in each other’s territory for transportation of cargo and passengers, including third country transport and personal vehicles
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing technical, advisory, and financial support to BBIN MVA initiative as part of its assistance to South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program. Earlier trail runs for cargo vehicles under MVA were conducted along Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala and Delhi-Kolkata-Dhaka routes which had successfully establishes their economic benefits.
SASEC program: It is projects-based economic cooperation initiative of ADB that brings together BBIN countries, Maldives, Sri Lanka and more recently, Myanmar. ADB (Manila) is secretariat of SASEC.