New Chapter in India’s Relations with its Neighbors

IAS Prelims 2023

A new chapter in Customs Cooperation between India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal was opened on 5th September 2016, as a cargo laden truck of Bangladesh of readymade garments, imported rolled into Customs Inland Container Depot, Patparganj, Delhi.

Though the vehicle entered India through Petrapole Land Customs Station, the customs clearance is being done at ICD, Patparganj.

The vehicle was affixed with GPS tracking equipment at Petrapole and the cargo was sealed electronically. This helped in live tracking of the vehicle as it moved from Petrapole to New Delhi, with an alert mechanism to prevent any tampering of the cargo container.

This also marks the first step by Indian Customs at adopting cutting edge technology in facilitating and securing transhipment of import cargo. It also represents a milestone in demonstrating the regional value chain effect in south Asia with a top multi-national retail chain in India importing goods manufactured in Bangladesh.

This is part of a trial run under a Motor Vehicles Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger and Cargo Vehicular Traffic (MVA) which was signed between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) in Thimphu, Bhutan, on 15 June 2015 by the Transport Ministers of the four countries.

The MVA allows cargo vehicles registered in any one of the BBIN countries to cross borders and enter any of the other BBIN countries, along agreed routes.

Consequently, border congestion is reduced and trade can clear cargo at a location proximate to them.

Such seamless movement can help in faster and cheaper movement of goods. As the MVA also covers movement of passenger vehicles, it will deepen people-to-people contact and boost tourism.

Three countries, viz., Bangladesh, India and Nepal have currently ratified the MVA and Bhutan is in the process of completing its ratification formalities.

To help in finalization of Protocols that would facilitate trade and maintain balance with effective controls, the countries had agreed to conduct trial runs of vehicles, in terms of the MVA.

The first cargo trial run was conducted between Kolkata and Agartala through Bangladesh between November 1-3, 2015, by DHL.

The 2nd Trial Run trial run of vehicles is being conducted from Dhaka to Delhi from 29th of August 2016 to 10th September 2016.