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Motor Vehicles Agreement

Context:

With Bhutan continuing to sit out the Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) of the sub-regional Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) grouping, a meeting of the other three countries was held to discuss the next steps in operationalizing the agreement for the free flow of goods and people between them.

Relevance:

GS II- International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:
  1. What is Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA)?
  2. Key terms of the Agreement
  3. What next?

What is Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA)?

  • India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Bangladesh signed an MVA for the Regulation of Passenger, Personal, and Cargo Vehicular Traffic between the four South Asian neighbours.
  • It was signed in Thimpu, Bhutan, on June 15, 2015, at the BBIN transport ministers meeting.
  • The act will make it easier to transport people and things across borders in a seamless manner for the benefit and integration of the region’s economic development.

Key terms of the Agreement

  • Products trans-shipment: Cargo vehicles will be allowed to enter any of the four countries without the need for goods to be trans-shipped from one truck to another at the border.
  • Free transportation: The agreement would allow member states to use their vehicles to move cargo and passengers in each other’s territory, including third-country transit and personal automobiles.
  • Electronic permission: Under the agreement, each vehicle will be required to obtain an electronic permit before entering another country’s territory, and border security arrangements between countries’ borders will be maintained.
  • Ultra-security: Every time the container door is opened, an electronic seal on the vehicle warns regulators.
Implementation status of the agreement
  • Bangladesh, India, and Nepal have all ratified the pact, and it will enter into force once all four member nations have done so.
  • The deal was ratified by the lower house of the Bhutanese parliament in early 2016, but it was rejected by the upper house in November 2016.
  • Bhutan has asked for a limit on the number of vehicles that can enter its country.

What next?

  • While India remains “optimistic” that Bhutan will alter its mind about the project, a meeting in November 2021 opted to move forward for the time being, despite no new signals from Thimphu.
  • Despite multiple trial runs for passenger buses and cargo trucks along the Bangladesh-India-Nepal road route, progress on the seven-year-old project has been slow.
  • The final protocols are still being held up by some agreements.

 Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN)
  • BBIN Initiative is a sub-regional architecture of countries in Eastern South Asia, a sub-region of South Asia.
  • The group meets through the official representation of member states to formulate, implement and review quadrilateral agreements across areas such as water resources management, connectivity of power, transport, and infrastructure.

-Source: The Hindu

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September 2022
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