What is BIMSTEC?
Even though, the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement (BBIN MVA) would be a game-changer for regional co-operation in South Asia, it...
Even though, the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement (BBIN MVA) would be a game-changer for regional co-operation in South Asia, it now requires a number of enablers for its efficient execution scheduled to beign in the second half of 2018.
Bhutan is yet to ratify the agreements and others have certain reservations. However, a report said experts opined that BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) would facilitate BBIN implementation. There was even a question in Lok Sabha in 2017 as to whether any progress had been made in strengthening alliances with the BIMSTEC and BBIN.
Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj stated in her reply that at the BIMSTEC Leaders Retreat on October 16, 2016 in Goa, it was agreed to intensify cooperation under BIMSTEC and an Action Plan was accordingly drawn up for implementation of initiatives that promote trade, transit and movement of vehicular traffic, enhancing connectivity, disaster management, information and intelligence sharing, coastal shipping, energy trade, technology transfer, combating terrorism, agriculture, economic, technical and infrastructure cooperation, and developing an Agenda for 2030.
Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) have also signed a sub-regional Motor Vehicle Agreement in June 2015 for regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic. Successful demonstration runs of passenger and cargo services have been organised.
Cooperation under BBIN is also being discussed in the areas of power and water resources management. India expects that regional cooperation would advance under both BIMSTEC and BBIN. These pacts are expected to impact positively on SAARC and encourage an atmosphere free of terror and violence that is conducive for regional cooperation.
BIMSTEC is an international organisation of 7 nations of South Asia and South East Asia, housing 1.5 billion people with 2.5 trillion combined economy, including Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The main objective of BIMSTEC is technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and southeast Asian countries along the coast of the bay of Bengal. BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat is at Dhaka was opened in 2014 and India provides 33% (65% of region's population) of its expenditure.