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Indus Waters Treaty (IWT)

2023 JAN 27

Preliminary   > International Relations   >   Agreements   >   India- Pakistan

Why in news?

  • India has issued a notice to Pakistan seeking a review and modification of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) citing Pakistan’s “intransigence” in resolving disputes over the Kishanganga and Ratle (on Chenab River) hydropower projects, both in Jammu and Kashmir.

About Indus Waters Treaty (IWT):

  • India and Pakistan signed the IWT in September, 1960 after nine years of negotiations, with the World Bank being a signatory to the pact.
  • The treaty sets out a mechanism for cooperation and information exchange between the two sides on the use of the water of the Indus River and its five tributaries Sutlej, Beas, Ravi, Jhelum, and Chenab.

Key Provisions:

  • Water Sharing:
    • The treaty prescribed how water from the six rivers of the Indus River System would be shared between India and Pakistan.
    • It allocated the three western rivers—Indus, Chenab and Jhelum—to Pakistan for unrestricted use, barring certain non-consumptive, agricultural and domestic uses by India and the three Eastern rivers—Ravi, Beas and Sutlej—were allocated to India for unrestricted usage.
    • This means that 80% of the share of water went to Pakistan, while leaving the rest 20% of water for use by India.
  • Permanent Indus Commission:
    • It also required both the countries to establish a Permanent Indus Commission constituted by permanent commissioners on both sides.
    • According to the provisions of the IWT, the Permanent Indus Commission is required to meet at least once a year.
  • Rights over Rivers:
    • While Pakistan has rights over the waters of Jhelum, Chenab and Indus, Annexure C of the IWT allows India certain agricultural uses, while Annexure D allows it to build ‘run of the river’ hydropower projects, meaning projects not requiring live storage of water.
  • Dispute Resolution Mechanism:
    • The IWT provides a three-step dispute resolution mechanism under Article IX of the Indus Waters Treaty, under which “questions” on both sides can be resolved at the Permanent Commission, or can also be taken up at the inter-government level.
    • In case of unresolved questions or “differences” between the countries on water-sharing, such as technical differences, either side can approach the World Bank to appoint a Neutral Expert (NE) to come to a decision.
    • And eventually, if either party is not satisfied with the NE’s decision or in case of “disputes” in the interpretation and extent of the treaty, matters can be referred to a Court of Arbitration.


Consider the following statements regarding Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan:

1.Indus Waters Treaty was signed and brokered by the UN.

2.Under this treaty, India got control over Beas, Ravi, and Sutlej rivers.

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

(a)1 only

(b)2 only

(c)Both 1 and 2

(d)Neither 1 nor 2