What is BBIN?
  • BBIN stands for Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal Motor Vehicle Act
  • Unprecedented step that aims at shared prosperity in South Asia.
  • Meant to facilitate movement of commercial vehicles across the borders of B-B-I-N
  • It was signed in Thimphu, Bhutan in 2015
  • The agreement will permit member states to ply their vehicles in each other’s territory for transportation of cargo and passengers, including third country transport and personal vehicles.
  • However last year’s blockades on Nepal border -> negatively impacted the agreement. It goes against the spirit of regional cooperation.
  • The main objective of the agreement is to provide seamless people-to-people contact and enhance economic interaction by facilitating cross border movement of people and goods.
  • As per the agreement, member countries would allow vehicles registered in the other countries to enter their territory under certain terms and conditions. Customs and tariffs will be decided by the respective countries and these would be finalised at bilateral and trilateral forums.
  • This will further help each country in creating an institutional mechanism for regional integration.
 “Signing of a motor vehicle agreement by the transport ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal marks a big breakthrough in the evolution of South Asian regionalism.” Elaborate and examine the benefits of this agreement to its signatories. (200 Words)
South Asian regionalism has been held hostage to the India-Pakistan dynamics. However, signing of the Motor Vehicles Agreement between India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal has heralded a new beginning in integration in South Asia. The agreement will benefit all its stakeholders greatly.
  1. This will reduce transports costs, enhance multi-modal transport and transit facilities, enable increased connectivity and will promote greater trader between the four countries.
  2. The agreement opens up the possibility of turning border roads into economic corridors, increasing the employment opportunities along the way in all 4 countries.
  3. For India, such an agreement will prove a major boon and will lead to faster development of its North Eastern states due to development of land routes through Bangladesh which will reduce the time and cost of transport.
  4. While Nepal already has open borders with India, this agreement will help it increase trade and connectivity with Bhutan and Bangladesh.
  5. Such an agreement will prove highly beneficial for Bangladesh as not only will it increase trade, but it will also lead to greater investment in its transportation infrastructure by India.
  6. This agreement could be template for more such sub-regional groupings within SAARC. And might ultimately force Pakistan to become more proactive in SAARC.
  7. It would complement India’s ‘Act East’ policy and would further provide impetus to projects like the Trilateral highway and Kaladan multi modal transport project under BIMSTEC.
  8. It will promote tourism and people to people interaction
  9. Greater movement of skilled personnel and businessmen across countries will have multiple benefits including employment and revenue generation for nations.
  10. If BBIN motor vehicle act is successful then it will help in encouraging more such integration ties such as between India, Maldives and Sri Lanka .
The agreement’s importance not only lies in the direct benefits to the member states, but also lies in its psychological importance. It is a signal that inefficiencies of SAARC will not be allowed to hold up the project of integration in South Asia. This could well recharge SAARC and make it relevant again.

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