Single Permit System Proposed for SAARC Road Transport

6 September 2014

A single permit system facilitating easy movement of goods and people through road transport within the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region may soon be a possibility, as SAARC member states consider this proposal during a meeting of SAARC officials in Rajasthan, India.

The initial draft proposal contains the following conditions:

  • Necessary verification of required documents by official government authorities prior to issuance of multiple-entry permits;
  • Multiple-entry permits for both regular passenger and cargo transport shall be valid for one year, subject to renewal each year for a maximum of five years;
  • Vehicles carrying approved permits and traveling through SAARC member countries must pass through designated immigration checkpoints and customs stations, and must only use authorized routes specified by member nations on the mutual agreement. Deviations from the designated route would be treated as violations.

However, it should be noted that representatives of Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Pakistan were unable to attend the meeting when the proposal was tabled. All SAARC member countries need to be onboard for the proposal to be endorsed. The final protocol for the single permit proposal will also include details of allowable vehicles, specific certificates required for vehicles to be used, and a pre-verified "jumbo passport" of the traveling crew/passengers.

SAARC member countries, which also include Afghanistan, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, are expected to finalize an umbrella and multilateral agreement on transport vehicles at the 18th SAARC summit scheduled in Kathmandu, Nepal in November.


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