India signs motor vehicle pact with three nations

India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh recently signed a landmark Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) for the Regulation of Passenger, Personnel and Cargo Vehicular Traffic among the four South Asian neighbours in Thimpu, Bhutan.

  • This pact is the first stage of the $8-billion road connectivity project set to begin in October.
  • Myanmar and Thailand have agreed to develop a motor vehicle pact on lines of the draft SAARC Motor vehicle agreement, to pave the way for greater economic cooperation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

According to this agreement, the four countries would carry out a six-month work plan from July for the implementation of the BBIN MVA in accordance with the agreements and protocols. The staged implementation of the historic pact would begin in October this year.

Motor Vehicles Agreement:

The SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement has wider scope for movement of all types of vehicles across SAARC member States and will be a path breaking endeavour. This agreement paves the way for a seamless movement of people and goods across their borders for the benefit and integration of the region and its economic development.

What are the benefits?

  • 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.
  • The agreement will reduce costly and time-consuming unloading and loading of people and goods at the border crossing points making cross-border trade more efficient.
  • It would help transform transport corridors linking the four countries into economic corridors and enhance people to people contact.
  • This agreement would facilitate the transit of all types of vehicles between the contracting parties as is prevalent in other common markets like the European Union.
  • It would promote tourism and people-to-people interaction.

The following three routes have been identified for the bus service in the first instance:

  1. Kathmandu – Bhairahawa – Sunauli – Gorakhpur – Lucknow – New Delhi.
  2. Kathmandu – Bhairahawa – Sunauli – Azamgarh – Varanasi – New Delhi.
  3. Pokhara – Bharahawa – Sunauli – Gorakhpur – Lucknow – New Delhi.

Private and non-regular passenger vehicles would be entitled to use all established entry and exit points in the agreed upon framework envisaged under the Draft Agreement.

Sources: The Hindu, PIB.

Motor Vehicle Agreement

The Union Cabinet has approved signing of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicle Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal and Cargo Vehicular Traffic amongst BBIN.

  • The agreement will be signed on 15th June at the BBIN Transport Minister’s meeting in Thimpu, Bhutan. This agreement is similar to the SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) draft with minor changes.
  • Each participating country will bear its own costs arising from implementation of this agreement.

Benefits:

  • Signing of the BBIN agreement will promote safe, economical efficient and environmentally sound road transport in the sub-region and will further help each country in creating an institutional mechanism for regional integration.
  • BBIN countries will be benefited by mutual cross border movement of passenger and goods for overall economic development of the region.
  • The people of the four countries will benefit through seamless movement of goods and passenger across borders.

Sources: PIB.

Delhi, Dhaka set boundary pact in motion

In a historic step towards improving ties, India and Bangladesh exchanged the instruments of ratification of the Land Boundary Agreement recently, promising an end to the “stateless existence” of more than 50,000 people on both sides of the border.

About the land swap deal:

The swap will involve handing over 17,000 acres of land to Bangladesh in return for 7,000 acres in 111 enclaves in West Bengal, Assam, Tripura and Meghalaya, and was first decided under the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) between India and Bangladesh, but never ratified by Parliament.

  • It will require an amendment to the Constitution (the 119th amendment) ratified by both Houses of Parliament with a two-thirds majority.
  • The deal relates to demarcation of boundary under the Land Boundary Agreement between the two countries.

How will it affect the existing citizens?

  • The number of people to be involved in the whole swap is approximately 52,000, of which about 15,000 are on the Indian side of the border.
  • Under this agreement, the enclave residents could continue to reside at their present location or move to the country of their choice.

Sources: PIB.

Agreements and MoUs signed

During Prime Minister Modi’s recent visit to Bangladesh, India and Bangladesh signed and exchanged 22 instruments, including four agreements, three protocols, 14 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) and one letter of consent on a range of issues.

Important agreements:

  • Exchange of Instruments of Ratification of 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and its 2011 Protocol.
  • Exchange of letters on Modalities for implementation of 1974 Land Boundary Agreement and its 2011 Protocol
  • Agreement on Coastal Shipping between Bangladesh and India
  • Bilateral Cooperation Agreement between Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution (BSTI) and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) on Cooperation in the field of Standardization
  • Agreement on Dhaka-Shillong-Guwahati bus service and its Protocol
  • Agreement on Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala Bus Service and its Protocol
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Prevention of Human Trafficking
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Prevention of Smuggling and Circulation Fake Currency Notes
  • Memorandum of Understanding between Bangladesh and India and for Extending a New Line of Credit of $2 billion by government of India to government of Bangladesh
  • Memorandum of Understanding on Blue Economy and Maritime Cooperation in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean
  • Memorandum of Understanding on use of Chittagong and Mongla ports
  • Memorandum of Understanding for a Project under IECC (India Endowment for Climate Change) of SAARC

Sources: PIB.

Bangladesh Liberation War award for Vajpayee

Bangladesh is set to honour former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee for his outstanding support for the country’s independence from Pakistan in 1971 when he was a Lok Sabha member.

  • Bangladesh is all set to hand over Vajpayee’s “Friends of Bangladesh Liberation War Award” to Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the country from June 6.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also approved a proposal to honour the families of the members of Indian armed forces for sacrificing their lives for the cause of Bangladesh’s independence.

The award is bestowed upon individuals and organizations who had extended support to Bangladesh during it’s independence struggle. The then Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi was the first “foreign friend” to be conferred with the ‘Bangladesh Liberation War Honour Award’. Most of the subsequent recipients were also from India which extended the most crucial support for Bangladesh’s independence with incumbent President Pranab Mukherjee being one of them.

Sources: The Hindu.

MoU between India and Bangladesh

The Union Cabinet recently gave its approval for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bangladesh on prevention of human trafficking especially trafficking in women and children: rescue, recovery, repatriation and reintegration of victims of human trafficking.

The salient features of the MoU:

  • To strengthen cooperation to prevent all forms of the human trafficking, especially that of women and children and ensure the speedy investigation and prosecution of traffickers and organized crime syndicates in either country;
  • enumeration of preventive measures that would be taken to eliminate human trafficking in women and children and in protecting the rights of victims of trafficking; and
  • repatriation of victims would be done as expeditiously as possible and the home country will undertake the safe and effective reintegration of the victims.

Sources: PIB.

Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala bus trial run today

The trial run of the much-awaited Kolkata-Dhaka-Agartala bus service will begin on June 1st.

  • The service is aimed at easy movement of people of two Indian States separated by Bangladesh.

 This is the first bus service to connect the two north-eastern States through Bangladesh. The Dhaka-Kolkata service was introduced in 1999 and the one between Dhaka and Agartala in 2003.

 It had been sought for long by the people of Tripura and other adjoining States for travelling through Bangladesh without changing vehicles. It takes nearly three days to travel from Kolkata to Agartala, the capital of Tripura, a 1,650-km distance by land. Now, the journey will take less than 24 hours. The two countries recently completed a trial run of the Dhaka-Shillong-Guwahati service.

Sources: The Hindu.