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:
- Kathmandu – Bhairahawa – Sunauli – Gorakhpur – Lucknow – New Delhi.
- Kathmandu – Bhairahawa – Sunauli – Azamgarh – Varanasi – New Delhi.
- 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.