Despite receiving accolades for being the example of cooperation, India and Pakistan's peaceful management of their Indus River system remains largely unexamined. Scholars that do consider this case classify it as passive cooperation. To support their classification, they point to the Indus Waters Treaty's allocation of the river system between India and Pakistan and suggest that it severed the interdependent relationship and need to cooperate. Consequently, this paper seeks to demonstrate that India and Pakistan remain interdependent in managing their Indus River system and for over 40 years, they have sustained active cooperation. To account for the maintenance of this cooperation the paper argues that it is necessary to consider the design of the Permanent Indus Commission, an institution established to manage the Indus River. The ability of Indian and Pakistani commissioners to communicate directly and hold regular meetings permitted them to perform the necessary standard and operating procedures for the functioning of the institution. The commission's ability to monitor development of the river system has enabled it to ease member states’ fear of cheating and confirm the accuracy of all exchanged data. Finally, its conflict resolution mechanisms have permitted it to negotiate settlements to disputes as they arise.
Research Article|February 01 2009