Third joint work­ing group meet­ings on sub-re­gional co­op­er­a­tion held in Dhaka

Bhutan Times - - Home - Staff Reporter

The third meet­ings of the Joint Work­ing Groups (JWGs) on sub-re­gional co­op­er­a­tion be­tween Bangladesh, Bhutan, In­dia and Nepal (BBIN) on wa­ter re­sources man­age­ment and power/hy­dropower and on con­nec­tiv­ity and tran­sit were held in Dhaka on 19-20 Jan­uary 2016.

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.

The joint work­ing groups on wa­ter re­sources man­age­ment and power/ hy­dropower car­ried for­ward ear­lier dis­cus­sions on 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 BBIN frame­work that could be con­cretized on eq­ui­table ba­sis were 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 joint groups on con­nec­tiv­ity and tran­sit re­viewed progress un­der the BBIN MVA and made rec­om­men­da­tions rel­e­vant to this process.

It was agreed to com­mence dis­cus­sion 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 joint work­ing groups would be held in the se­cond half of 2016 in In­dia.

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