Bhutan participated in the meeting as an observer, according to the Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

The delegates agreed on specific steps and timelines to expedite and finalise the passenger and cargo protocols for the implementation of the BBIN MVA.

The meeting was held to discuss the passenger and cargo protocols that are essential to operationalise the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) for the regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, signed in June, 2015.

This is the first meeting of the group since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The last meeting was held in February 2020 in New Delhi.

During the meeting an enabling MoU to be signed by India, Bangladesh and Nepal for implementation of the BBIN MVA by the three countries, pending ratification of the MVA by Bhutan was finalised.

The Indian delegation was led by Smita Pant, joint secretary, ministry of external affairs while Bangladesh delegation was led by ATM Rokebul Haque, director general (South Asia), ministry of foreign affairs.

The Nepalese delegation was led by Keshab Kumar Sharma, joint secretary, ministry of physical infrastructure and transport.

The Bhutanese observer team was led by Thinley Norbu, first secretary, Royal Bhutanese Embassy in New Delhi.

The countries emphasised the importance of operationalising the BBIN MVA expeditiously to enable seamless movement between them for facilitating trade and people-to-people contact.

Operationalising the MVA by concluding the passenger and the cargo Protocol will help realise the full potential of trade and people to people connectivity between the BBIN countries by fostering greater sub-regional cooperation.

Asian Development Bank provided technical and knowledge support to the meeting.

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