“BBIN success hinges on Indian States”

Say experts at connectivity meet

Published - February 19, 2017 06:22 pm IST

Much will depend on the eastern and northeastern States of India, if the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) regional grouping has to be successful, experts at a conference on trans-regional connectivity in Kolkata have said.

“India’s federal structure makes States very important. Since BBIN will mainly operate through east and northeast India, these States must play ball with Delhi and the three neighbouring countries,” former Bangladesh Bank governor Atiur Rahman said.

MVA crucial

And much of the success of BBIN depends on the BBIN-Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA), signed between the countries in June 2015 to facilitate “easy movement of vehicles across the borders” via an agreement replacing traditional large-scale trans-shipment, says the project report of the two-day conference on BBIN-MVA, that recently concluded in Kolkata. But the main roadblock to the MVA came from Bhutan when the Upper House of the country’s Parliament raised a 15-point objection to MVA. The conference discussed issues raised and deliberated on how to operationalise the 2015 agreement.

‘Great opportunity’

“BBIN is also a great opportunity for India’s eastern and northeastern States to improve connectivity and access major regional and even global markets. This opportunity should not be lost, come what may,” said Mr. Rahman.

Pradeep Mehta, secretary-general of the Consumer Unity Trust Society International that organised the Kolkata conference to initiate a study into operationalising the BBIN MVA, agreed. The DFID of the UK, the Indian government and the US Consulate is backing the study.

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