India has many international agreements reached with neighbouring countries regarding the sharing of river waters. One such agreement called Indus Water Treaty was signed by India and Pakistan on September 19, 1960 regarding the sharing of water of the Indus and its tributaries.
It was reached through the arbitration of the International Bank of Reconstruction and Development which has set up a permanent Indus Commission to look after disagreement arising between India and Pakistan. Here inorder to maintain good neighbourly relations, India accepted the principle of equitable apportionment of the Indus system waters between Upper (India) and Lower (Pakistan) riparian states.
India could have insisted on following the Harmon Doctrine (1895). Under the agreement India has been given exclusive right to use the waters of three eastern rivers (Beas, Satluj and Ravi) leaving out remaining three (Chenab, Jhelum and Indus) to Pakistan which will also take into account the water-needs of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The agreement between India and Pakistan of the Salal Dam is an excellent example of co-operation between two countries. Similarly a thirty-year agreement has also been reached between India and Bangladesh on Dec. 12, 1996 for the sharing of Ganga waters. Under the agreement India and Bangladesh would share alternately for 10 days each 35,000 cusecs of water during the lean season (1 March to 10 May) to fulfill their water needs. Similar agreement has been concluded between India and Nepal for sharing river waters and India is helping Nepal in executing many river valley projects.
The Mahakali Project is the outcome of one such Indo-Nepal joint venture. Mutual agreement has also been reached between India and Bhutan for harnessing the waters of the international rivers affecting these countries.
The king of Bhutan has agreed to join a sub-regional plan for sharing river waters and power with India and Bangladesh. Bhutan is willing to divert 12,000 cusecs of water from the Sankosh River to the Tista and from the Tista to Farakka barrage to be shared by India and Bangladesh. The plan also envisages India purchasing 4,000 megawat of hydel power from Bhutan to strengthen its National Power Grid and meet the power needs of the north-eastern region.