Tobgay mulls re-deliberation on BBIN

Seeing it as a threat to relations with India, Tobgay government has started a fresh attempt to pass the BBIN motor vehicle agreement through the parliament.

The upper house National Council had rejected the agreement citing it to be a cause of pollution in the otherwise serene Bhutanese environment. The Lower house National Assembly passed the legislation.

Opposition party and public in general oppose the idea of providing free access to vehicles from India, Nepal and Bangladesh as part of the agreement to improve road connectivity network. They view opening doors to hundreds of vehicle would put stress on Bhutanese road network, pollute Bhutanese environment and increase security risks.

The government who signed the agreement however says it will open gates for cooperation in other sectors.

BBIN is not just about MVA as Thimpu believes that the MVA is the precursor to cooperation in other fields including connectivity, energy, trade and ICT.

PM Tobgay is learnt to be mulling over a joint sitting of the parliament, as advised by the palace and the Indian government, which would possibly have majority numbers to pass the bill.

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

BBIN MVA has also plans to link with India-Myanmar-Thailand (IMT) road agreement giving Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh access to Southeast Asia. BBIN MVA was mooted following Pakistan’s intransigence on blocking SAARC MVA as well as Railways Pact.

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