The second Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting on Sub-Regional Cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) has emphasised on the need for power trade and inter-grid connectivity between the four countries.
The two-day meeting that concluded in New Delhi on Saturday further agreed for joint efforts to explore harnessing of water resources including hydropower and also power from other sources available in the sub-region.
It was also agreed to exchange lists of potential future hydropower and power projects to be undertaken jointly involving at least three countries on equitable basis.
Experiences were exchanged and best practices in areas of power sector among the four countries were also discussed.
The JWG took stock of the existing bilateral arrangements between the four countries on data sharing for flood forecasting and ways of improving the same.
The JWG on connectivity and transit also reviewed existing arrangements.
It agreed on the significance of BBIN agreements to enable movement of motor vehicles and railways.
The meeting exchanged ideas on potential cargo (both roads and railways) and bus routes, involving at least three countries in addition to the existing bilateral routes. It also decided to explore the possibility of using multi-modal transport to meet commercial as well as tourist needs.
The JWG deliberated on the need for trade facilitation at land border stations for effective sub-regional connectivity.
It exchanged views on usefulness of sharing trade infrastructure at land border stations and harmonization of customs procedures.
Higher officials of all the countries attended the meeting. The Bangladesh delegation was led by Director General (South Asia), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tareq Md Ariful Islam, the Bhutanese delegation was led by the Director General, Department of Hydropower and Power Systems in the Ministry of Economic Affairs Dasho Yeshi Wangdi, the Nepalese delegation was led by Joint Secretary (South Asia) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Prakash Kumar Suvedi and the Indian delegation was led by Abhay Thakur, Joint Secretary (North) and Sripriya Ranganathan, Joint Secretary (BM) in the Ministry of External Affairs.
The next meeting of the JWGs will be held in the second half of 2015 in Bangladesh.
Source : BB News