Bhutan to join BBIN after addressing concern on environment, culture and security

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Bhutan did not ratify a regional motor vehicle agreement involving Bangladesh, India and Nepal because of concern over its impact on environment and culture, a senior Royal Bhutan Consulate General official said in an event in Kolkata.

But the country would join the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement (BBIN MVA) after addressing these internal procedures, Vice-Consul, Royal Bhutan Consulate General office, Prema Tobgay, said.

India had proposed the BBIN (MVA) in 2014 to build a freight corridor connecting the four south Asian nations. But Bhutan announced in April this year that it would not be able to ratify the agreement now and asked the three other nations to go ahead with the plan without it.

Participants during interactive session

“Bhutan has given go ahead signal to the other three countries but there are people in our land having expressed diverse concerns about impact on environment, culture, peace and security,” the Vice-Consul, Royal Bhutan Consulate General office, Prema Tobgay, said.

Bhutan was a part of the process as it considered the BBIN (MVA) as not just a platform for motor vehicles movement but exchanges in the fields of energy, trade, information technology and communication, he said.

Bhutan has given go ahead signal to the other three countries but there are people in our land having expressed diverse concerns about impact on environment, culture, peace and security

“While Bangladesh, India and Nepal have already ratified the agreement, Bhutan is in the process of addressing internal procedures before ratifying it,” Tobgay said.

The vice-consul said, “Bhutan is small not just in terms of size, but in population and number of vehicles.” He said BBIN (MVA) would enhance regional connectivity and economic development and “We approach a holistic way taking various constraints but we are positive about joining the other three after attending to these internal procedures.” He was addressing a conference on BBIN initiative.

The sub-region might not have shared a very progressive economic unity, but has been characterised by strategic threats and suspicion among themselves, despite a common cultural past. Thus, the management of the peripheries is a top priority. Along with this the implication of increased cross-border terrorism cannot be denied as well. Security concerns assume greater importance because of shared borders.

The BBIN project leads to the creation of a cultural synergy along with the creation of economic corridors. Areas of collaboration like, trade, investment, communication, tourism, energy security and energy grids; building of roadways, railways, air links, data sharing for flood forecasting, transit facilitation and also conventional security considerations, are deemed to enable an environment of accelerated growth.

Bangladesh Deputy High Commissioner Toufique Hasan, Consul general of Nepal Sita Basnet and Nepal Banking Institute CEO Sanjib Subba also attended the seminar.

© PTI

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