A meeting of the BBIN nations -- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal -- was held here on Saturday to deliberate on a proposed MoU for implementation of the motor vehicle agreement for regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic among the countries.
Representatives of Bhutan participated in the meeting in an observer capacity.
The meeting was held to discuss the passenger and cargo protocols that are to give effect to the Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) for the regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, signed on June 15, 2015, a Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said.
This was the first meeting of the group since its meeting in Bengaluru in January 2018, where the two protocols were discussed.
The delegations recalled commitments made at the highest political level for implementation of the BBIN MVA and the importance of trade, economic cooperation and people-to-people contact, through enhanced regional connectivity, including through facilitation of regional cross-border road transport, the statement said.
The delegations expressed satisfaction over the progress made by each country in internal consultations with their stakeholders for the protocol for movement of passengers, it said.
They also discussed in detail various aspects of the draft protocol for movement of cargo vehicles, deliberating on the existing draft text jointly for the first time, the statement said.
The three delegations reaffirmed their understanding that the BBIN MVA safeguards the rights and obligations of all parties under other international agreements and bilateral pacts within the group, including those relating to landlocked countries, it said.
The delegations also discussed a draft enabling MoU to be signed by Bangladesh, India and Nepal for implementation of the BBIN MVA by the three countries, bearing in mind the consent provided by the Bhutanese government for the entry into force of the MVA among the other three countries, without obligation to Bhutan, pending the completion by Bhutan of its internal procedures for ratification of the BBIN MVA, the statement said.
The delegations of Bangladesh, India and Nepal agreed to consider expediting the finalisation of this MoU, expressing gratitude to Bhutan for offering its consent in this regard, it said.
The Bangladesh delegation was led by Mohammad Sarwar Mahmood, Director General (South Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Nepalese delegation was led by Gopal Prasad Sigdel, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.
The Indian delegation was led by Vikram Doraiswami, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs. The Bhutanese observer team was led by Pem Tshering, Legal Officer, Ministry of Information and Communications.
The meeting was held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere, with the delegations agreeing upon the need to expeditiously finalise the passenger and cargo protocols for implementation of the BBIN MVA, the statement said.
The meeting agreed to endeavour to revert by May 2020 on the process of internal consultations by respective countries based on the discussions of the meeting, it said.
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