India hopes Bhutan will join BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement

New Delhi, Nov 17 (IANS) After the upper house of Bhutan’s parliament rejected a move to have the country join the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal Motor Vehicles Agreement (BBIN MVA)), India on Thursday expressed the hope that the Himalayan kingdom will join the sub-regional pact after completing all internal procedures.

“We hope that the Royal Government of Bhutan will be able to complete necessary internal procedures for operationalisation of the agreement at an early date,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Vikas Swarup said at his weekly media briefing .

The four South Asian nations signed the BBIN agreement in June last year in Thimphu, Bhutan, in what was seen as a significant symbol of sub-regional unity.

The agreement allowed for the regulation of passenger, personal and cargo vehicular traffic among the four countries.

However, there have been reservations among some sections within Bhutan about the viability of this agreement given that it was a small country.

After the National Assembly or the lower house of the Bhutanese parliament endorsed the agreement earlier this year, it forwarded it to the National Council for consideration.

However, on Tuesday, the National Council voted against Bhutan joining the agreement.

According to Sonam Kinga, Chairman of the National Council, there were two votes for joining the agreement, 13 against, while five members abstained from voting.