INDUS WATER TREATY, is an agreement between Pakistan and India which describes the division of WATERS and management of drainage between the two countries.


It was signed on 19th September 1960 in Karachi. Mr. Eugene R.Black, president World Bank and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru flew in Karachi to sign the treaty.  The treaty for Pakistan was signed by the President Field Marshall Muhammad Ayub Khan and for India by the Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, President of the World Bank Mr. Eugene R. Black was the main witness.



British government, while partitioning India, may be deliberately, left a number of conflicts between the two newly formed states, especially over the plentiful waters of the Indus basin. The newly formed states were at odds over how to share and manage what was essentially a cohesive and unitary network of irrigation. Furthermore, the geography of partition was such that the Source Rivers of the Indus basin were in India. Pakistan felt its livelihood threatened by the prospect of Indian control over the tributaries that fed water into the Pakistani portion of the basin. Where as India, deceitfully had its own ambitions for the profitable development of the basin.


Water is a great blessing of Nature on the earth, it is said GOD gifted Nile to Egypt and Indus to the state of Pakistan. The main stream of the Indus along with other rivers such as Jhelum and Chenab that flows into Pakistan come from the state of Jammu and Kashmir. However, Ravi, Beas and Sutlej have their veins from India.


The waters of the Indus basin start from Tibet and the Himalayan Mountains, flows from the hills through the states of Kashmir, Himachal-Pradesh and Punjab converging in Pakistan, and emptying into the Arabian Sea, south of Karachi.



Regarding deliberate act of British government; Mr Sultan M. Hali, describes in his article, published in “The Nation”; Through deceit, Pundit Jawaharlal Nehru, himself the scion of a Kashmiri family, manipulated the last British Viceroy of India: Lord Mountbatten, by first involving his wife Edwina in a romantic scandal and using her leverage, coercing Lord Mountbatten to prevail upon Sir Cyril Radcliffe, the Chairman of the India-Pakistan Boundary Commission to change the proposed boundary so that Gurdaspur could be awarded to India instead of Pakistan and India would gain ground access to Kashmir.


AND, Mr. Hali is absolutely right; Mountbatten’s treachery caused all the nuisance, Pakistan is still facing. Principally, it was moral obligation of the British government, to unmistakably settle all the matters while partitioning, which deviously they left blank, to let the two states always remain in tug-of-war. It’s the character of British and all allied to them. “DIVIDE & RULE” is their main strategy.


During the first years of partition, the waters of the Indus were apportioned by the Inter-Dominion Accord of May 4, 1948. This accord required India to release sufficient waters to the Pakistani regions of the basin in return for annual payments from the government of Pakistan. The accord was meant to meet immediate requirements and was followed by negotiations for a more permanent solution. However, India was never willing to compromise and negotiate, with the view that Pakistan could do nothing to prevent India from any of the schemes to divert the flow of water in the rivers.



David Lilienthal, formerly the chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, visited the region in early 50’s to write a series of articles for Collier's magazine. Lilienthal had a keen interest in the subcontinent and was welcomed by the highest levels of both Indian and Pakistani governments. Lilienthal was briefed by state department and executive branch officials, who hoped that Lilienthal could help bridge the gap between India and Pakistan and also gauge hostilities on the subcontinent. During the course of his visit, it became clear to Lilienthal that tensions between India and Pakistan were acute, as Indian antagonistic attitude was main hindrance to a permanent solution.


He suggested that India and Pakistan should work out a program jointly to develop and operate the Indus Basin river system, upon which both nations were dependent for irrigation water. With new dams and irrigation canals, the Indus and its tributaries could be made to yield the additional water each country needed for increased food production. In an article he suggested that the World Bank might use its good offices to bring the parties to agreement, and help in the financing of an Indus Development program.




Lilienthal's idea was well received by officials at the World Bank, and, subsequently, by the Indian and Pakistani governments. Eugene R. Black, then president of the World Bank, wrote that the Bank was interested in the economic progress of the two countries and had been concerned that the Indus dispute could only be a serious handicap to this development. India's previous objections to third party arbitration were remedied by the Bank's insistence that it would not adjudicate the conflict but rather work as a conduit for agreement. With Field Marshall Ayub Khan in chair, Mr. Black, personally wanted to settle this issue and help out Pakistan to get its proper share of waters.


Black also made a distinction between the "functional" and "political" aspects of the Indus dispute. In his correspondence with Indian and Pakistan leaders, Black asserted that the Indus dispute could most realistically be solved if the functional aspects of disagreement were negotiated apart from political considerations. He envisioned a group that tackled the question of how best to utilize the waters of the Indus Basin, leaving aside questions of historic rights or allocations.


Black proposed a Working Party made up of Indian, Pakistani and World Bank engineers. The World Bank delegation would act as a consultative group, charged with offering suggestions and speeding dialogue. In his opening statement to the Working Party, Black insisted that the Indus problem is an engineering problem and should be dealt with by engineers. One of the strengths of the engineering profession is that, all over the world, engineers speak the same language and approach problems with common standards of judgment.


Black's hopes for a quick resolution to the Indus dispute were premature. While the Bank had expected that the two sides would come to an agreement on the allocation of waters, but India not seemed willing to compromise, While Pakistan insisted on its historical right to waters of all the Indus tributaries and that half of West Punjab was under threat of desertification, the Indian side argued that the previous distribution of waters should not set future allocation.


The World Bank soon became frustrated with this lack of progress. What had originally been envisioned as a technical dispute that would quickly untangle itself started to seem intractable. India was not ready to agree on the technical aspects of allocation, let alone the implementation of any agreed upon distribution of waters.


Finally, the World bank offered its own proposal, stepping beyond the limited role it had apportioned for itself and forcing the two sides to consider concrete plans for the future of the basin. The proposal offered India the three eastern tributaries of the basin and Pakistan the three western tributaries. Canals and storage dams were to be constructed to divert waters from the western rivers and replace the eastern river supply lost by Pakistan.


Another important development, which then Pakistan had to raise against the hostile attitude of India was the flow of four drainage from India. Pakistan was forced to threat to block the drainages. India, deeply shocked, had to negotiate and finalize the matter.


So, the “INDUS WATER TREATY” was signed on 19th September 1960 in Karachi. Mr. Eugene R.Black, president World Bank and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru flew in Karachi to sign the treaty.  The treaty for Pakistan was signed by the President Field Marshall Muhammad Ayub Khan and from India by the Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru, President of the World Bank Mr. Eugene R. Black was the main witness.




INDUS WATER TREATY, is a 25 page document with 8-annexures explaining technically and legally all the problems and remedies of water distribution between Pakistan and India. The basic and main points are noted below:



All the six rivers were divided into two part, the Eastern Rivers and the Western Rivers. The term “Eastern River” means The Sutlej, The Beas and The Ravi,   taken together, and The term “Western Rivers” means The Indus, The Jhelum and The Chenab, taken together.



It was decided that all the waters of the Eastern Rivers shall be available for the unrestricted use of India. Pakistan shall be under obligation to let flow, and shall not permit any interference with the waters of the Sutlej Main and Ravi Main in the reaches where these rivers flow in Pakistan and have not yet finally crossed into Paksitan. The points of the final crossings were taken at Slemanke for The Sutlej and one and half mile upstream of siphon on BRBD.

All the waters while flowing in Pakistan of any Tributory which, in its natural course, join the Sutlej Main or the Ravi Main after these rivers have finally crossed into Pakistan shall be available for the unrestricted use of Pakistan.



Pakistan shall receive for unrestricted use all those waters of the Western Rivers which India is under obligation to let flow under the provision of Paragraph (2). India shall be under obligation to let flow all the waters of the Western Rivers, and shall not permit any interference with these three waters. Pakistan will have the unrestricted use of all waters originating from source other than the Eastern Rivers.



Pakistan shall maintain in good order its portion of the drainages mentioned below with capacities not less than the capacities as on the effective date:

  1. Husiara Drain
  2. Kasur Nala
  3. Salimshah Drain
  4. Fazilka Drain

If India finds it necessary that any of the drainages mentioned should be deepened or widened in Pakistan, Pakistan agrees to undertake to do so as a work of public, provided India agrees to pay the cost of the deepening or widening.



Water supplies for irrigation canals in the south Punjab was dependent on waters from the Eastern Rivers. India agreed to make fixed contribution of UK Pound Streling 62,060,000/= (Pound Streling sixty two million and sixty thousand only) towards the cost of construction of new head-works and canal system for irrigation. India had to pay this amount in ten equal installments.



  • It was decided that for ten years, India will let the waters of Eastern Rivers flow through the rivers and Pakistan will complete its canal system during that period.
  • It was also decided that Pakistan can construct Dams or Head-works on river Indus, Jhelum and Sutlej, according to its requirement.
  • If, to meet the electricity requirement, India wants to construct dams on River Chenab, it will be run-of-river arrangement and no reservoir will be constructed.
  • Pakistan and India will keep daily record of withdrawal at the heads and release from reservoirs, and will exchange the data every month.
  • The agreement set up the Permanent Indus Commission to adjudicate any future disputes arising over the allocation of waters. The Commission has survivedthree wars and provides an ongoing mechanism for consultation and conflict resolution through inspection, exchange of data and visits. The Commission is required to meet regularly to discuss potential disputes as well as cooperative arrangements for the development of the basin. Either party must notify the other of plans to construct any engineering works which would affect the other party and to provide data about such works. In cases of disagreement, a neutral expert is called in for mediation and arbitration. While neither side has initiated projects that could cause the kind of conflict that the Commission was created to resolve, the annual inspections and exchange of data continue, unperturbed by tensions on the subcontinent.


As already mentioned, all the above mentioned terms and conditions were formed in a 25 page document with 8-annexures. The document, clearly and legally explains all the terms and conditions in detail with all the references and annexures.

As already mentioned above, The document “INDUS WATER TREATY” is signed by Field Marshall Muhammad Ayub Khan as the President of Pakistan and Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru as the Prime Minister of India, duly witnessed by the President of the World Bank.

According to the treaty, India has absolutely no right on the waters of The Indus, The Jhelum and The Chenab.


India should never forget that the Drainage facility provided by Pakistan is a great donation of Pakistan to India. IF, Pakistan blocks it, then????