The Indus Water Treaty was signed between India and Pakistan in 1960 to manage the water resources of the Indus river system. The treaty has been hailed as a rare example of peaceful cooperation between the two arch-rivals, who went to war over the disputed territory of Kashmir just a few years later.
The Indus river system flows through India, Pakistan, and parts of China, Afghanistan, and Tibet. The treaty divides the six rivers of the Indus basin into two sets: the eastern rivers, comprising the Sutlej, Beas, and Ravi, are allocated to India, while Pakistan is granted the western rivers, including the Indus, Jhelum, and Chenab.
Under the treaty, India is allowed to use the water of the eastern rivers for irrigation, power generation, and other purposes, but it must ensure that the flows of these rivers into Pakistan are not significantly reduced. Similarly, Pakistan has the right to use the water of the western rivers, but it must ensure that India’s share of the flow is not affected.
The treaty also establishes a permanent Indus Commission, consisting of a commissioner from each country, to resolve disputes and ensure the smooth implementation of the agreement. The commissioners meet regularly to exchange data and discuss any issues related to the treaty’s provisions.
Despite occasional tensions and disputes over the years, the Indus Water Treaty has largely held up and has been praised for its contribution to regional stability. However, some experts have raised concerns about the treaty in light of changing climate patterns, growing populations, and new dam-building projects in both countries.
In recent years, India and Pakistan have engaged in a number of water-related disputes, including over the construction of hydropower dams on the western rivers by India and the alleged diversion of water from the eastern rivers by Pakistan. Some analysts fear that increased tensions over water could further exacerbate the already strained relations between the two countries.
Overall, the Indus Water Treaty remains a vital tool for managing the water resources of South Asia’s most important river system. However, it will require continued efforts by both India and Pakistan to ensure that the treaty is implemented effectively and that disputes are resolved through dialogue and cooperation.