Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) - UPSC Current Affairs

BANGLADESH-BHUTAN-INDIA-NEPAL (BBIN) MOTOR VEHICLES AGREEMENT (MVA)

In today’s edition of our Current Affairs Dialog box, we will talk about Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA). Check its relevance from the CSE syllabus point of view and accordingly proceed with your UPSC exam preparation.

For Prelims: BBIN Project and BBIN – Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA).

For Mains: Significance of BBIN – MVA and Analysis of BBIN Project by World Bank.

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Why in the News?

Recently, India, Bangladesh, and Nepal finalized an enabling memorandum of understanding (MoU) in a meeting held in New Delhi.

  • In the BBIN meeting, the officials finalized the wording of two separate protocols on passenger and cargo movement with an “enabling” agreement.

Probable Question

The Motor Vehicles Agreement can be an example of sub-regional cooperation amid dysfunctional SAARC. Comment

Key Points:

Background:

  • The BBIN connectivity project was conceived after the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) failed to agree on a regional motor vehicles agreement at a summit in Nepal in 2014, mainly because of opposition from Pakistan.
  • The original BBIN MVA was signed by all four countries (Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal) in June 2015, but after objections in Bhutan over sustainability and environmental concerns, the Bhutanese parliament decided not to endorse the plan.
    •  In 2020, Prime Minister Lotay Tshering highlighted that given Bhutan’s “current infrastructure” and top priority to remaining a “carbon-negative” country, it would not be possible to consider joining the MVA. 
  • However, the other three countries agreed to go ahead with the project for vehicular movement (BIN-MVA) in 2017. 

Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA)

  • The Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) was signed in 2015 between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal (known as the BBIN countries).
  • It seeks to facilitate the unrestricted cross-border movement of cargo, passenger, and personal vehicles between BBIN countries. 
  • Under the agreement, trucks carrying export-import or transit cargo can move inside the territories of other countries without trans-shipping to local trucks at border land ports.
  • The Asian Development Bank has supported the project as part of its South Asian Subregional Economic Cooperation programme.

Also, watch Pardoning Power of President in our Current Affairs Daily Stream by Prem Sodhani Sir, our DREAM TEAM faculty for Current Affairs:

Analysis of BBIN Project by World Bank

  • Boosting National Income: According to a World Bank Report, the seamless movement of vehicles between India and Bangladesh for trade could raise India’s national income by eight per cent and Bangladesh’s by 17 percent.
  • Boon for North-East Region: It will provide faster and cheaper access to products from Northeast and boost real income in states such as West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra.
  • Addressing Concerns: Among the major concerns that India and Bangladesh need to address in the MVA include protective tariffs and nontariff barriers, and a broad trust deficit throughout the region.
  • Gaps in Implementation: Chief gaps that operate in the implementation of MVA include lack of standards in the design of the infrastructure, absence of rules on drivers’ training and license, restrictions on visa, entry and exit points, and even routes that drivers can take.

Significance of BBIN Project

  • The World Bank has estimated that the implementation of the MVA will potentially see an increase in traffic-regional trade within South Asia by nearly 60%, has also announced its interest in supporting infrastructure.
  • It will boost sub-regional cooperation by fostering greater cooperation for facilitating trade and people-to-people contact.
  • It will give a push to India’s Neighbourhood First Approach foreign policy.

Conclusion

  • The BBIN initiative has the potential and is a very promising initiative. 
  • However, the success of this initiative will depend much upon India to make it acceptable across the political spectrum in the neighboring countries
  • It will also depend on how India addresses concerns related to the delivery deficit. 
  • If these things are done adequately and in time, the BBIN initiative will undoubtedly reach its logical conclusion.

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