Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal contemplate inititiatives to bolster development ties

January 21, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Sheuli Akter

The third meeting of the Joint Working Groups on Sub-Regional Cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) on Water Resources Management and Power/Hydropower and on Connectivity and Transit was held on January 19-20 in Dhaka.

The Bangladesh delegation was led by Tareq Md. Ariful Islam, Director General (South Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs; the Bhutanese delegation by Karma P Dorji, Director, Department of Hydropower and Power Systems, Ministry of Economic Affairs; the Nepalese delegation by Prakash Kumar Suvedi, Joint Secretary (South Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs; and the Indian delegation respectively by Abhay Thakur, Joint Secretary (North) and Ms. Sripriya Ranganathan, Joint Secretary (BM), Ministry of External Affairs.

Discussions at the meeting were cordial, constructive and forward looking, with many new initiatives for deepening sub regional cooperation identified and deliberated upon, said a Foreign Ministry statenent.

The Joint Working Group (JWG) on Water Resources Management and Power/Hydropower carried forward earlier discussions on the scope for power trade and inter-grid connectivity cooperation in future power projects and water resources management between the four countries.

Specific hydropower projects under the BBIN framework that could be concretized on equitable basis were also discussed.

It was decided that an Experts Group would be constituted for exchanging best practices in water resources management and on specifics of the identified projects, power trade, inter grid connectivity, flood forecasting and other areas of possible cooperation.

The statement said the JWG on Connectivity and Transit reviewed progress under the BBIN Motor Vehicles Agreement and made recommendations relevant to this process.

It was agreed to commence discussions on the possibility of having a BBIN Rail Agreement drawing on the draft SAARC Regional Rail Agreement template. It was also agreed that land ports/land customs stations crucial for sub regional trade and transit would be given priority attention by all four countries.

The next meeting of the JWGs will be held in the second half of 2016 in India, the statement added.

 

 

 

 

Sheuli Akter

Sheuli Akter, from Bangladesh, is a Special Correspondent and Editor of NsNewsWire, (Bangladesh’s First Press Newswire).  Previously she had worked for Bangladesh’ top news agency, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) and top newspaper (now defunct) The Bangladesh Observer. She also gained an honourable mention in the first ever World Media Summit WMS Awards for ‘Exemplary News Professionals in Developing Countries’, receiving the award in Beijing in January 2015.

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