India seeks to enhance multilateral trade cooperation within SAARC

Transport & Logistics Services to get boost in forthcoming SAARC Summit, along with agreements on power and railway networks  Sachin Manawaria | @TheDollarBiz SAARC-The-Dollar-Business While contradictory messages have gone out to the world on India’s stand on Trade Facilitation, the country is galloping ahead with something similar on a slightly smaller scale, within SAARC or the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation that comprises Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. If everything works out smoothly, soon the SAARC nations may ply their vehicles in others members’ nation territory for transportation of cargo and passengers. This is one of the aims of the Modi government which approved yesterday the Signing and ratifying the SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement at the 18th SAARC summit on November 26-27, 2014 in Kathmandu. The agreement is expected to lead to closer regional economic cooperation and integration through enhanced regional connectivity. The cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has also approved signing and ratifying of Regional Railways Agreement by India with its SAARC members. “The Regional Rail Agreement will also enable low cost, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable transportation in the SAARC region and provide trade and economic links for the land locked countries and semi isolated regions,” says the government. There are three landlocked countries within SAARC all of which have god trade ties with India: Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal. Another major agenda on the list of items of the SAARC summit is the signing of “SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity)” among the SAARC member states. This will enhance the integrated regional power grid operation among the member nation apart from improving the power availability in the entire region.

This article was published on November 21, 2014.