The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) is an initiative by six countries – India and five ASEAN countries, namely, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for cooperation in many areas. It was launched in 2000 at Vientiane, Lao PDR. Both the Ganga and the Mekong are civilizational rivers, and the MGC initiative aims to facilitate closer contacts among the people inhabiting these two major river basins. The MGC is also indicative of the cultural and commercial linkages among the member countries of the MGC down the centuries.
The new MGC Plan of Action 2019-2022 envisages project-based cooperation in the seven areas of MGC cooperation, namely tourism and culture, education, public health and traditional medicine, agriculture and allied sectors, transport and communication, MSMEs as well as three new areas of cooperation, i.e. water resources management, science and technology, skill development and capacity building.
10th Mekong-Ganga Cooperation Ministerial Meeting was held in Bangkok in 2019 August. The Meeting
1. Underscored the importance of connectivity among MGC countries and expressed support for cooperation projects to develop sustainable and resilient infrastructure for inclusive growth in MGC countries. Furthermore, the Ministers looked forward to the early completion of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and directed their officials to work towards the early finalisation of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicle Agreement (IMT MVA).
2. Recognized the importance of synergizing the MGC with the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity 2025 (MPAC 2025) and connectivity initiatives of other sub-regional and inter-regional frameworks through, inter alia, the extension of the Trilateral Highway to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Viet Nam.
3. Welcomed India’s announcement of a USD 1 billion Line of Credit (LOC) for connectivity projects in ASEAN
4. Agreed to hold the 11th MGC Ministerial Meeting on the margins of ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in 2020 in Viet Nam.