Streptococcus pyogenes [group A streptococcus (GAS)], a human pathogen, and Streptococcus dysgalactiae subsp. equisimilis [human group G and C streptococcus (GGS/GCS)] are evolutionarily related, share the same tissue niche in humans, exchange genetic material, share up to half of their virulence-associated genes and cause a similar spectrum of diseases. Yet, GGS/GCS is often considered as a commensal bacterium and its role in streptococcal disease burden is under-recognized. While reports of the recovery of GGS/GCS from normally sterile sites are increasing, studies describing GGS/GCS throat colonization rates relative to GAS in the same population are very few. This study was carried out in India where the burden of streptococcal diseases, including rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, is high. As part of a surveillance study, throat swabs were taken from 1504 children attending 7 municipal schools in Mumbai, India, during 2006-2008. GAS and GGS/GCS were identified on the basis of beta-haemolytic activity, carbohydrate group and PYR test, and were subsequently typed. The GGS/GCS carriage rate (166/1504, 11 %) was eightfold higher than the GAS carriage (22/1504, 1.5 %) rate in this population. The 166 GGS/GCS isolates collected represented 21 different emm types (molecular types), and the 22 GAS isolates represented 15 different emm types. Although the rate of pharyngitis associated with GGS/GCS is marginally lower than with GAS, high rates of throat colonization by GGS/GCS underscore its importance in the pathogenesis of pharyngitis.