Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC)

The Mekong–Ganga Cooperation (MGC) was established on November 10, 2000, at Vientiane, Laos at the First MGC Ministerial Meeting.  

  • It comprises six member countries, namely India (Look-East connectivity projects),  Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.  
  • The four areas of cooperation are tourism, culture, education, and transportation. 
  • The organization takes its name from the Ganga and the Mekong, two large rivers in the region. 

MGC Mandate 

To facilitate closer contacts among people inhabiting these two (Ganga and Mekong) major civilisational river basins and enhancing cooperation in a cult. 

Mekong Ganga Cooperation Objectives 

The MGC aims at developing closer relations and better understanding among the member countries to enhance friendship, solidarity and cooperation; facilitating inter-state movement and transit; transport of goods and people in the region; creating necessary infrastructural facilities in the Ganga-Mekong basin areas, and encouraging active participation in poverty eradication.

Mekong Ganga Cooperation Structure 

The institutional structure of the MGC is yet to evolve properly. According to a preliminary concept paper approved by the MGC, Ministerial Meetings would be held annually back-to-back with the Annual Ministerial Meetings (AMMs). The chairmanship will be rotated in alphabetical order. The country which serves as chair shall act as the Secretariat to carry out coordination and implementation of the Cooperation plan. 

Mekong – Ganga Cooperation Working Mechanism 

The working mechanism of Mekong – Ganga Cooperation consists of the Annual Ministerial  Meetings, Senior Officials Meetings (SOM) and 5 working groups. These 5 working groups look after the cooperative areas of MGC. They are as follows: 

  • Working group of Education 
  • Working group of Tourism 
  • Working group of Culture 
  • Working group of Plans of Action 
  • Working group of Communication 

Mekong Ganga Cooperation Activities 

  • The inaugural meet in November 2000 identified tourism, culture and the development of human resources as the first steps on a road that will lead to greater networking of communications, transport and infrastructure development. 
  • In the tourism field, the MGC is committed to conducting strategic studies for joint marketing, launching the Mekong-Ganga Tourism Investment Guide, facilitating the travel of people in the region, expanding multimodal communication as well as transportation links to improve travel and tourism and promoting cultural-religious package tours. 
  • In the field of infrastructure development, member-countries are committed to developing transport networks, especially the “East-West Corridor” and the “Trans-Asian  Highway”. 
  • When completed, the Asian highway project is expected to link Singapore with New Delhi in South Asia via Kuala Lumpur, Ho Chi Minh City, Phnom Penh, Bangkok, Vientiane,  Chiang Mal, Yangon, Mandalay, Kalemyo, Tamu, Dhaka and Kolkata. 
  • Other areas of cooperation include air services and linkages, and IT infrastructure and networks. 
  • In the field of culture, the grouping is to undertake joint research in the field of music,  dance and theatre forms and conduct roundtables for writers, journalists and experts in various fields such as literature, health, women’s empowerment, performing arts and nutrition. 
  • Focus is also to be given to the conservation, preservation and protection of heritage sites and artefacts.
  • Cooperation is also envisaged in the establishment of networking and twinning arrangements among universities in the region. 
  • The translation of classics of MGC countries into other MGC languages. 
  • Participation of member-countries in book fairs on a commercial basis.

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Blog Post written by:
Anurag Trivedi
UPSC Mentor