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Union Cabinet approved signing of three SAARC agreements

Nov 21, 2014 15:56 IST

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 20 November 2014 approved the signing of three SAARC agreements. These three SAARC agreements will be signed at the 18th SAARC Summit that is scheduled to be held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 26 – 27 November 2014.

The three agreements include

  • SAARC Regional Railways Agreement (RRA)
  • SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity)
  • SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement

These three agreements were introduced on the behest of India and were included as one of the objectives in the Addu Declaration issued at the 17th SAARC Summit at Addu, Maldives in 2011.

SAARC Regional Railways Agreement (RRA)

The SAARC RRA seeks to permit free movement of people, goods and services within SAARC region in the Road and Rail sector.

The RRA was drafted by India for SAARC countries in 2008. The text of the Agreement was finalised at the 5th -Governmental Group on Transport (IGGT) held in New Delhi on 30 September 2014.

Benefits of the SAARC Regional Railways Agreement:

  • It will strengthen transport connectivity in the SAARC Region
  • It will not only provide stimulus to the economic development in the region as a whole but also promote social and cultural contact and encourage tourism amongst the Member States
  • The Agreement will also enable low cost, energy efficient and environmentally sustainable transportation in the SAARC region
  • It will provide trade and economic links for the land locked countries and semi isolated regions

SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity)

The agreement will enable greater cooperation in the power sector among SAARC countries. It is expected to improve the power availability in the entire SAARC region. It would facilitate integrated operation of the regional power grid

SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement

The agreement provides for the member- states allowing their vehicles to ply in their territories for transportation of cargo and passengers subject to various terms and conditions.

It will result in closer regional economic cooperation and integration through enhanced regional connectivity by allowing movement of goods and passengers in the region through road transport

Apart from this, the Union Cabinet also cleared other agreements:

  • It approved the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between India and Nepal for strengthening cooperation in the field of tourism, which is proposed to be signed during Modi's visit to Nepal beginning 25 November 2014.
  • It authorised the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to sign similar bilateral agreements and protocols with other SAARC member-states.

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