Bhutan for BBIN economic cooperation

Bhutan for BBIN economic cooperation

SAM Staff,

Bhutan is looking at the sub-regional grouping of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) for better economic cooperation despite the setback of the Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA). It insists on cooperation in the field of energy, trade and ICT as the grouping is not confined to the road connectivity.

Bhutan is the only country that has not ratified the MVA, an initiative under the BBIN cooperation.

Bhutanese upper house, the National Council (NC), last month voted against the sanction. It noted that the MVA would not generate significant and tangible benefits to Bhutan.

The NC also fears that ratification of the agreement poses several environmental and security risks in the immediate and long-term future.

The MVA allows for cross-border movement of passenger, personal and cargo vehicles within the sub-region.

While the transport is the only area of cooperation that has been unpopular in Bhutan, the NC is of the view that the cooperation in other areas may benefit the country, wrote the local media.

Quoting observers, Bhutanese daily the Kuensel wrote, Bhutan should negotiate for an active BBIN membership in other areas of cooperation, even if it scraps the MVA.

The move is expected to be voted on by a joint session of the parliament at a future date.

The BBIN initiative was a brain-child of the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The MVA, under the initiative, was inked Transport ministers of the four countries inked the MVA under the initiative in June 2015 in Thimphu.