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Bhutan Actively Contemplating Return to BBIN for Enhanced Regional Cooperation

March 7, 2024 7:24 am


In a significant development, Bhutan is earnestly contemplating its return to the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) process, a move that could foster greater regional cooperation and connectivity. This decision was conveyed by a Bhutanese delegation during a pivotal meeting on the implementation of the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement (BBIN MVA), held at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka from 5-6 March 2024, as outlined in a statement from the foreign ministry.

The gathering witnessed the participation of delegations from Nepal, India, and Bangladesh, with Bhutan attending as an observer. The Bangladesh delegation, led by Rokebul Haque, director general (South Asia) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Indian delegation, led by Smita Pant, joint secretary (Bangladesh and Myanmar Division) of the Ministry of External Affairs, along with Bhimarjun Adhikari, joint secretary of the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport leading the Nepalese delegation, expressed optimism about the transformative potential of the BBIN MVA.

Discussions at the meeting delved into the progress achieved thus far under the BBIN MVA and scrutinized the details of the draft protocol for the movement of cargo vehicles within the framework. The envisaged operationalization of this agreement is anticipated to not only expand trade and commerce but also create opportunities for enhanced people-to-people contact, fostering trust and cooperation among the contracting countries, according to the official statement.

The BBIN MVA, signed on 15 June 2015 in Thimphu, Bhutan, aims to regulate passenger, personal, and cargo vehicular traffic between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal. If successfully implemented, this framework promises to significantly contribute to the economies of the contracting countries, further strengthening regional ties. The commitment of all participating nations to the early implementation of the BBIN process was reiterated during the meeting.

The last meeting on the implementation of BBIN MVA took place on 7-8 March 2022 in New Delhi, India, and the potential reentry of Bhutan into this collaborative initiative marks a positive stride towards fostering increased connectivity and cooperation in the sub-region.

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