Pact ready for seamless transit of vehicles in 4 SAARC countries
India, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan are expected to implement a pact soon that will provide seamless transit of passenger and cargo vehicles among these four SAARC nations, the government said on Monday.
The agreement, which is awaiting approvals from the respective local authorities before it is implemented later this year, has a provision for other four SAARC nations to join the framework.
Once implemented, the agreement will reduce the costly and time-consuming unloading and loading of people and goods at border crossing points, making cross-border trade more efficient, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highways Pon Radhakrishnan said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.
“To reduce cost and time consuming process and make cross border trade and transport more efficient and to help transform transport corridors linking the four countries into economic corridors and enhance people to people contact, the text of a motor vehicle agreement among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) as a sub-regional arrangement has been finalised in a meeting of Transport Secretaries of these countries,” he said.
Radhakrishnan said the pact can be implemented only after it is approved by the competent authorities in each country.
It will be signed after the negotiations and detailed operating procedures and protocols are finalised among the four countries.
“The agreement draft of the BBIN motor vehicle agreement has provisions to enable more SAARC nations to join this framework,” he added.
Last month, senior officials from the four nations met at Raichak near Kolkata to finalise the pact and draw up plans for its speedy implementation.
The agreement will allow passenger, personal and cargo vehicles to travel along designated key routes in the four SAARC countries without the need for trans-shipment of goods and passengers at the border crossings.
It is expected to be signed at a meeting of Transport Ministers of the four countries to be held this year.
The sub-regional pact will be a parallel initiative to the proposed SAARC transport agreement for which efforts to find an early resolution would continue.
Building on the progress made in negotiating and finalising the SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement, this pact will facilitate the transit of all types of vehicles between the contracting parties as is prevalent in other common markets like the European Union.
Earlier the four-country representatives meeting was chaired by Road Transport and Highways Secretary Vijay Chhibber.
Source:: Indian Express