Mekong-Ganga Co-operation (MGC) Mechanism

Mekong-Ganga Co-operation (MGC) Mechanism

News: EAM Dr. S Jaishankar recently said that peace and prosperity in the Mekong region play a pivotal role in realising India's vision for security and growth for all countries in the region under its Act East policy.

• The statement was made at recently held 12th MGC mechanism meeting.

What is the MGC mechanism?
• The Mekong Ganga co-operation (MGC) is a sub-regional initiative launched in 2000, comprising six countries – India, Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam – aimed at boosting co-operation in a range of areas including tourism, culture, education, transport and communications. It was established with the signing of the Vientiane Declaration in Laos.
• The name of the initiative reflects the common cultural and civilisational heritage of the two major rivers in the region - the Ganga and the Mekong.

How has the Lower Mekong region helped India?
The Lower Mekong region is important for India from the perspective of Historical significance and contemporary significance.

Historical Significance
• Strong connections with India’s ancient river civilizations.
• It’s geographical proximity served as important destination for trade and cultural exchanges.
• It brings India closer to south-east Asia.

Contemporary relevance
• The regions aids are Act-East policy by promoting economic growth and shared opportunities.
• India is committed to enhancing connectivity within the region through infrastructure projects like the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and Motor Vehicles Agreement.
• The MGC complements India’s broader engagement with the ASEAN countries.
• The MGC also encourages people-to-people contacts through tourism, youth exchanges, media interactions.
• The MGC provides a forum for dialogue and co-operation on issues of common interest and concern among the member countries – Agriculture, traditional medicine, science and technology, capacity building and skill development.

About Mekong River:
•  Origin - The Mekong river originates in the icy headwaters of the Tibetan highlands in China, where it is called Lancang Jiang. It rises in southeastern Qinghai province.
• Drains into - The Mekong river ends in a large delta in southern Vietnam, where it splits into nine major distributaries before draining into the South China Sea.
• It is the 12th longest river in the world with a length of about 2,700 miles (4,350 km).
• It flows through six countries - China, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and forms part of the international border between some of them.
• It has many different names in different languages, such as Lancang Jiang, Mae Nam Khong, Sông Tiên Giang, and Cuu Long.
• It is a very powerful river with significant variation in its flow and volume according to the seasons.
• It is the world’s largest inland fishery, accounting for up to 25 percent of the global freshwater catch. It has more than 1,100 species of fish, second only to the Amazon river in terms of fish biodiversity.
• China has constructed several dams along the Upper Mekong region and is accused of holding back water and causing drought downstream. Some of the names of dams are – Xiaowan Dam, Nuozhadu Dam, Jinghong Dam. 

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