BBIN is not as much a sub regional economic agreement as it is a sub regional political club for India leaving out other SAARC members especially Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Bhutan does not face any official difficulty in motor vehicle road access in the sub region. Bhutanese trucks already ferry apples and oranges into Bangladesh transiting through courtesy Indian territories. Indian trucks come to Bhutan and Bhutanese vehicles have access to Indian roads. However, except for the must transit route through India from one point of South Bhutan to another, most Bhutanese trucks and cars do not foray much into Indian territories. Not forbidden but because it is quite unsafe.
And Bhutan- Nepal bulk trade is non existing. Further, BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement will not cover for Bhutan the desired transmission lines of electricity or other communication means to Bangladesh or Nepal. Thus the supposed BBIN additional benefits of economic and other developments are conjured figments by a PDP Government put under duress from neighbourly pressures. Forgive but do not believe the Government about BBIN roses. No flowers just the thorns.
BBIN cannot achieve anything over and above SAARC forum. It is self defeating for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal to dilute SAARC with BBIN formation. The reason that BBIN could come alive is because India deems it necessary to consolidate political and economic grip over the immediate neighbours. And at the same time isolate out those more independant SAARC members and their backers especially China and America with observer status in SAARC. China even wants to become a member.
Whatever BBIN goals maybe, definitely it is not at all to enhance movement of Bhutanese goods or people. If transport of Bhutanese goods and people were so crucial , the proposed South Bhutan Highway would not have been killed. The ADB fund was secured and the plan ready for immediate execution. The highway project was on take off mode when our Government had to abruptly cancel it. And to add insult to injury, the construction of Samtse to Phuentsholing road already begun by DPT Government has been moving at snail pace under PDP watch. Why?
For the PDP Government or that of any other Bhutanese Political Party, the priority would be development and catering to the needs of the people. The votes and trust of people in the South are equally important to any Political Party. Therefore, a Party in governance just on its own wish, would not kill such vital national life-lines : Constructions of South Bhutan Highway and Amochu Hydro- Project.
What the leaders of Bhutan would or can do, hereafter, is hard to tell. There is relief in that Bhutan has asked the other three BBIN Signatories to go ahead. And trepidation in that lingering sign, " that Bhutan shall join later after Parliament's ratification of BBIN Agreement.
Any Government whether of PDP or that of other Parties, would be hard pressed to tackle political pressures from close quarters. We as ordinary citizens, unaware of all the pros and cons of national and regional challenges and pressures , can only voice our honest thoughts in such open forum and pray that somehow, the Tsawa Sum acting in unison will triumph in the end.
Against all odds, HM Third King had secured UN membership for Bhutan. Against all odds, HM Fourth King had routed the cross border heavily armed Indian Militant Groups thus eradicating once and for all times the possibility of occupation of South Bhutan by the Indian Army in planned pursuits of those very Indian militant forces. And against all skepticisms, HM reigning Fifth King has gallantly ushered in and skillfully shepherded the era of democracy. Thus odds did not stop the steadfast royal march along dignified destiny of the sovereign Kingdom. And therefore, odds should not daunt our Prime Minister
especially when any PM of Bhutan could always have such reliable fall backs.
A plea to respected Cabinet and honourable MPs of Bhutanese Parliament. I believe that foreign Ambassadors even those of most friendly nations Bangladesh and India cannot lecture the people of Bhutan in public into joining BBIN. The Royal Government could not prevent them from doing so. Now this time, I pray that the Parliament provide an appropriate response by soundly rejecting the BBIN Agreement in the Joint Session.
On BBIN Vote Day, may every MP of the Parliament place one hand on the heart that already belongs to Pelden Drukpa by oaths taken and press the vote button by the other hand. The resultant tally of votes " Yes or No " will cast the destiny of the nation. Lets hope each MP does not forfeit national respect and self soul for short term personal or Party political gains. Pelden Drukpa! Gyelo!