India will start issuing international permits for vehicles entering the country from some of its neighbours, covering both commercial and passenger category from 2016.
Though there is already this facility, on a regular basis, between India and Pakistan, at the Wagah border, India has during the last summit meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) made a commitment that it would issue international permits for vehicles to enter the country from our neighbouring states.
The move would enable members from this eight-nation group – including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and India – to be able to extend vehicular traffic into each others’ territory.
South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement on goods that came into force from January 2006, involving developing countries, like India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka has agreed to bring down their customs duties to 20 per cent in the first phase of the two-year period ending in 2007 and to zero by 2016 in phases.
As a first step, from 2016, India will start issuing international permits for vehicles entering the country from some of its neighbours, covering both commercial and passenger category, from Bangladesh. Later on, it is likely to be extended to Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar.
The arrangement is also to coincide with the proposed plan to build a dedicated international highway in India. When the road permits are issued, they will be included with an IT tracker, which will enable easy location and to keep a watch on the movement of vehicle concerned, if necessary.
In the next two years, all the relative arrangements in regard to the introduction of such traffic, including special customs clearance needs, check posts, possibly x-ray or scanning equipments (advanced types) to ensure movement is smooth and without hassle. But, at the same time, easy movement does not permit contraband items being brought in or smuggling made easy.
It would also follow that when reciprocal arrangements become effective it would help greater movement of vehicular traffic from India too.