New Delhi: India became the 71th country on Monday to join the United Nations TIR Convention, the international customs transit system, to position itself as a regional trading and transit hub.
The TIR system is the international customs transit system with the widest geographical coverage. As other customs transit procedures, the TIR procedure enables good to move under customs control across international borders without the payment of the duties and taxes.
TIR convention is more than a transport agreement and has a strong foreign policy element.
In a world where China’s ‘One Belt One Road’ (OBOR) is the dominating project straddling economics and geopolitics, India has no option but to play a better game if it wants to be counted as a serious rising power.
Welcoming India into the global transport arrangement, Umberto de pretto, the secretary general of IRU which manages the TIR convention, told TOI from Geneva that India’s accession would have a big impact on regional connectivity. “TIR can help implement the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement by addressing policy incompatibility among the BBIN group. For example, Bangladesh does not recognise insurance policies made in India, Nepal or Bhutan. With TIR, there would be no need for bilateral arrangements as guarantors are covered by the Global guarantee chain”.
Once the system is integrated with global norms, India reckons it will become easier to service African and Asian markets when the DMIC (Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor) comes online.
China joined the TIR in 2016 when its giant inter-regional connectivity projects began to take off. As India ramps up its connectivity ambitions this is a necessary step. For instance, the BBIN motor vehicles agreement needs this convention to make it operational.
A statement from IRU (International Roads Union) said this was “part of India’s multi- modal transport strategy that aims to integrate the economy with global and regional production networks”.