Regional Connectivity Current Affairs

NHAI signs agreement for its first International project under IMT Trilateral Highway

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has signed agreement for upgradation of Yagyi – Kalewa section of highway in Myanmar to two lane with earthen shoulder. This project is part of India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) Trilateral Highway and will be NHAI’s first international project.

Key Facts

The project aims to provide seamless vehicular movement for enhancing trade, business, health, education and tourism between Indian, Myanmar and Thailand. It is being funded by Ministry of External Affairs, India and will be executed on Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) mode at a cost of Rs.1177 crores.

The project will have 3 new major bridges and 2 new minor bridges.  Its existing 4 major bridges and 9 minor bridges will be repaired and strengthened and  6 existing minor bridges will be reconstructed. The Yagyi – Kalewa  stretch will have 6 truck lay byes, 20 bus bays and passenger shelters and 1 rest area. The project will be executed and completed in three years.

India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) highway

The IMT Trilateral Highway is regional highway being constructed under India’s Act East policy to boost connectivity in the region. It will connect Moreh in India with Mae Sot, Thailand via Myanmar. The highway is expected to boost trade and commerce in ASEAN–India Free Trade Area, as well as with rest of Southeast Asia.

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI)

NHAI is an autonomous statutory agency of Central Government, responsible for management of network of over 70,000 km of national highways in India. It was established through NHAI Act, 1988. In February 1995, it was formally made an autonomous body. It is nodal agency of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways. It is responsible for the development, management, operation and maintenance of National Highways.

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BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement:  India, Bangladesh, Nepal approve Passenger protocol

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).

Passenger protocol

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.

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