4 nations to explore energy cooperation

  • Sub-regional connectivity
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
 4 nations to explore energy cooperation

Feb 1, 2015-

Four members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation—Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal—have agreed to explore the scope of power trade and inter-grid connectivity and the possibility of using multi-model transport facilities.

A two-day meeting of officials from the four countries that concluded on Saturday in New Delhi welcomed the opportunity to exchange views on various possibilities for cooperation at a sub-regional level.

This is the first time Nepal attended the meeting. The first meeting of the series took place in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2013.

After the Saarc Framework Agreement of Energy was signed during the 18th Saarc Summit in Kathmandu last November, member states particularly those which can immediately work to materialise the pact sat together to set the tone for future cooperation, said officials. The meeting, named the Joint Working Group (JWG), has two separate working groups—Water Resources Management and Power/Hydropower and Connectivity and Transit.

Issuing a statement after the meeting, the Ministry of External Affairs of India said, “The JWG on Water Resources Management and Power/Hydropower reviewed the existing cooperation in this sector. It discussed the scope for power trade and inter-grid connectivity between the four countries as well as the potential for closer cooperation in future power projects.”

It was agreed that a joint effort would be made to explore harnessing water resources including hydropower and energy from other sources available in the sub-region, said the statement, adding that the countries also settled on exchanging lists of potential hydropower/energy projects to be undertaken with the involvement of at least three countries on equitable basis. “Exchange of experiences and best practices in other 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 to improve it. Possibility of exchanging best practices on basin-wide water resources management and development were also discussed.

The JWG on Connectivity and Transit reviewed existing arrangements and 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 and also consented on sharing suggestions in this regard. The meeting also deliberated on the need for trade facilitation at land border stations for effective sub-regional connectivity. “It exchanged views on the usefulness of sharing trade infrastructure at land border stations and harmonisation of customs procedures. The meetings also discussed about the terms of reference for both JWGs.” The next meeting will be held in the second half of 2015 in Bangladesh.

Published: 02-02-2015 09:21

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