The Cabinet on Wednesday approved the signing of a motor vehicles pact between India and three other nations of the SAARC grouping - Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal on June 15, which will enable seamless transit of passenger and cargo vehicles among these nations.
Following the nod, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari will visit Bhutan where the pact is scheduled to be signed by transport ministers of the participating nations.
"The 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," an official statement said after the meeting.
Signing of the BBIN pact will promote safe, economical efficient and environmentally sound road transport in the sub-region and will help each country in creating an institutional mechanism for regional integration, it said.
"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," it said.
Each Party will bear its own costs arising from implementation of this agreement, the statement added. A meeting of Secretaries of Transport of the BBIN countries was organised by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highway (MoRTH) in February 2015 to discuss and finalise the draft of the BBIN pact, which is similar to the SAARC Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) draft with minor changes.
Earlier, the Cabinet had approved a proposal to sign the SAARC MVA during the SAARC Summit in Kathmandu in November 2014. "Unfortunately, it could not be signed due to reservations of Pakistan.
The SAARC declaration at the Kathmandu Summit in November 2014 also encouraged member states to initiate regional and sub-regional measures to enhance connectivity," it said.
Accordingly, it was considered appropriate that a sub-regional BBIN pact may be pursued, it added. Meanwhile, an official statement said Gadkari "will be visiting Bhutan on June 14 to sign the landmark BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement for the regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic amongst four SAARC countries."