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The Indus Waters Treaty is a water-distribution treaty between India and Pakistan, brokered by the World Bank to use the water available in the Indus System of Rivers located in India.

The Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) was signed in Karachi on September 19, 1960 by the first Prime Minister of India Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and then President of Pakistan Ayub Khan.

According to this agreement, control over the water flowing in

three “eastern” rivers of India — the Beas, the Ravi and the Sutlej with the mean flow of 33 million acre feet (MAF) was given to India,

while control over the water flowing in three “western” rivers of India — the Indus, the Chenab and the Jhelum with the mean flow of 80 MAF was given to Pakistan.

Since Pakistan’s rivers receive more water flow from India, the treaty allowed India to use western rivers water for limited irrigation use and unrestricted use for power generation, domestic, industrial and non consumptive uses such as navigation, floating of property, fish culture, etc. while laying down precise regulations for India to build projects.

Since the ratification of the treaty in 1960, India and Pakistan have not engaged in any water wars.

Most disagreements and disputes have been settled via legal procedures, provided for within the framework of the treaty.

The treaty is considered to be one of the most successful water sharing endeavours in the world today.

As per the provisions in the treaty, India can use (excluding domestic, industrial and non consumptive uses from western rivers) nearly 20% of the total water carried by the Indus System of Rivers while Pakistan can use the remaining.

The treaty creates the Permanent Indus Commission, with a commissioner appointed by each country.

It would follow the set procedure for adjudicating any future disputes arising over the allocation of waters.

The Commission has survived three 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, Permanent Court of Arbitration or a neutral technical expert is called in for arbitration.

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