BBIN MVA Says “Together We Can”
15 June 2015
Bhutan Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay remarked on the strong commitment shown by the transport ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal in facilitating transport and increasing regional integration between the four countries, during a meeting held on the sidelines of the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Transport Ministers Meeting on Regional Road Connectivity in Thimphu, Bhutan.
The Prime Minister said the signed Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA)—the first sub-regional agreement within the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) framework—sends a strong message to SAARC that “together, we can”, and addresses numerous physical and non-physical barriers that make transportation in the subregion inefficient, costly, and cumbersome. He added that the agreement will also generate greater goodwill and understanding among the four countries by boosting trade.
In the meeting among transport ministers, Prime Minister Tobgay also noted that BBIN and SAARC cooperation could aid in combating global climate change by investing in sustainable transport to counter the adverse effects of pollution to nature. The BBIN subregion has great potential to generate renewable energy, especially if the countries work together meaningfully.
India’s Minister of Road Transport and Highways, and Shipping, Mr. Nitin Jairam Gadkari, said that the countries should learn ways from the Prime Minister to mitigate pollution, and that the MVA is a good start toward increasing connectivity. Nepal’s Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Mr. Bimalendra Nidhi, conveyed the appreciation of Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and the people of Nepal for Bhutan’s assistance in the Nepal earthquake of April 2015. Mr. Obaidul Quader, Minister of Road Transport and Bridges, Bangladesh, spoke about the importance of furthering people-to-people contact.
The BBIN MVA facilitates land transport arrangements among the four countries, easing cross-border movement of goods, vehicles, and people and helping expand people-to-people contact. Through the agreement, Bhutan export and import with its SAARC neighbors is set to get a boost, with Bhutan trucks now able to take truckloads of goods to Dhaka without having to transship to Bangladesh or Indian trucks, and then carry goods back from Bangladesh. Nepal, Bhutan's northern neighbor, is also a good transit route for further trade with countries in Central and East Asia.