Indus Water Treaty, 1960

  • 1960 treaty mandates commissioners to inspect sites, therefore, Commissioners from both sides have to inspect once in 5 years.
  • Altogether, 118 inspection tours on both sides undertaken since 1960.
  • India’s last inspection tour was held in in September 2014 whereas Pakistan’s last inspection tour was held in July 2013.
  • Current tour by Pakistan was originally scheduled in October 2018, but has been postponed due to Panchayat polls in J&K.
  • Current Pakistan tour will be followed by India’s visit to Pakistan.


  • 1960 Water Agreement between India and Pakistan  mandates commissioners to inspect sites on both sides of Indus basin once in 5 years.
  • Treaty allots three Indus tributaries- Satluj, Beas and Ravi to India and Chenab, Jhelum and Indus waters alloted to Pakistan.
  • Treaty provides for funding and building dams, link canals, barrages, and tube well-liked Tarbela Dam on Indus and Mangla dam on Jhelum.
  • Dams provide water to Pakistan in amounts it had previously received from rivers now assigned to India’s exclusive use; financing contributed by member countries of World Bank
  • Commission to maintain channel for communication and try to resolve questions about implementation of treaty
  • Numerous disputes peacefully settled over the years through Permanent Indus Commission.
  • Mechanism for resolving disputes also provided by the treaty.
  • While India could use western rivers for consumption purposes, restrictions placed on building of storage systems.
  • Aside from certain specific cases, no storage or irrigation systems can be built by India on the Western rivers.
  • Treaty lays out certain exceptional circumstances when storage systems can be built.
  • India complains that Pakistan deliberately stops any effort to build storage systems.
  • Matter further aggravated as the western rivers lie in J&K, a subject of tussle between the two countries since independence.
  • Pakistan fears drought and famine as it is highly dependent on Indus.
  • Since the treaty’s conception in 1960, the two countries have been embroiled in conflicts over a number of projects including Salal hydroelectric project, Tulbul project, Kishenganga and Ratle hydroelectric plants.

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  1. Project worth $864 million
  2. Initiated in 2007, project was completed in 2016


  1. 850 MW Hydroelectric power plant
  2. Initiated in June 2013 on Chenab river




 Indus water treaty signed

  1. India starts building hydropower projects in Kashmir
  2. Pakistan raises concern
  1. Pakistan objects over India building Tulbul barrage on Jhelum
  2. India stops Tulbul barrage project unilaterally

Pakistan raises concern over Kishanganga hydroelectric plant


LeT starts campaign against India

  1. Pakistan accuses India of choking water supply consistently
  2. Pakistan lodges complaint with The Hague’s Permanent Court of Arbitration (CoA) about Kishenganga hydroelectric plant.

      CoA puts a stay order preventing India from constructing a permanent structure


CoA rules India to go ahead with the Kishenganga hydroelectric plant and asks India to maintain minimum water flow of 9 cubic metre/sec to Pak. No agreement on other issues was made.


India reviews working of Treaty, links it with cross-border terrorism (Uri attack).

PM Modi said, Blood and water can’t flow together


Pak alleges India violating treaty by building Kishanganga dam



  • Six rivers of Indus basin originate in Tibet. Flow across the Himalayan ranges to end in the Arabian sea, south of Karachi.
  • Before partition, it was a common network for both the countries.
  • Post partition, Issue of water sharing sorted by the Inter-Dominion accord of May 4, 1948. It asked India to release enough waters to Pakistan in return for annual payments.
  • In 1960, both countries reached decision with the intervention of World Bank. Thus, precise details were laid out regarding the way in which waters would be distributed and the treaty also provides for arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably.


  • Permanent Indus Commission was created with a Commissioner from each country
  • Aims to maintain a channel for communication and to try to resolve questions about implementation of the treaty.
  • Mechanism for resolving disputes was set under this treaty.
  • Disputes peacefully settled through Permanent Indus Commission


       Indus Water Treaty is the only agreement that has been faithfully implemented and hence it stands as a great example for the entire world to learn from.

2 Responses

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  2. Katherin says:

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