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(ĭn`dəs), chief river of Pakistan, c.1,900 mi (3,060 km) long, rising in the Kailas range in the Tibetan Himalayas, and flowing W across Jammu and Kashmir, India, then SW through Pakistan to the Arabian Sea SE of Karachi. The upper Indus, fed by snow and glacial meltwater from the Karakorum, Hindu Kush, and Himalayan mts., flows through deep gorges and scenic valleys. The turbulence of its rushing waters makes it unsuitable for navigation.

The Indus then flows onto the dry Punjab plains of Pakistan and becomes a broad, slow-moving, silt-laden stream. There it receives the combined waters of the five rivers of the Punjab (JhelumJhelum
or Jehlam
, westernmost of the five rivers of the Punjab, 480 mi (772 km) long. Rising in Jammu and Kashmir, India, it flows W through the Vale of Kashmir, S through Pakistan-occupied foothills, then SW across Punjab to the Chenab River.
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, ChenabChenab
, one of the "five rivers" of the Punjab, 675 mi (1,086 km) long, rising in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh and flowing NW through the Kashmir Himalayas, then SW through Pakistani Punjab to join the Sutlej River. The Ravi and Jhelum rivers are the chief tributaries.
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, RaviRavi
, one of the five rivers of the Punjab, 475 mi (764 km) long, rising in the Himalayas, NW India, and flowing generally W into Pakistan, past Lahore, to join the Chenab River, NE Pakistan.
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, BeasBeas
, river, 250 mi (402 km) long, rising in the Himalayas and flowing generally SW through the fertile Kulu Valley of Himachal Pradesh and the Shiwalik Range to join the Sutlej River, S of Amritsar, N India.
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, and SutlejSutlej
, longest of the five rivers of the Punjab, c.900 mi (1,450 km) long, rising in the Kailas Range, SW Tibet region of China, and flowing generally west, meandering through the Himalayas in India, then onto the Punjab plain where it receives the Beas River and forms part of
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), its chief affluent. In Pakistan the Indus is extensively used for irrigation and hydroelectric-power generation. The Jinnah, Sukker, and Kotri barrages feed the main Indus canals in W Punjab and Sind. The irrigated plain is Pakistan's most densely populated region and its main agricultural area; wheat, corn, rice, millet, dates, and fruits are the chief crops.

The lower Indus is navigable for small boats but is little used for transportation, at least since the development of railroads. The extensive use of the Indus's waters for irrigation has greatly reduced the flow of freshwater in the lower Indus, leading to the encroachment of saltwater up the lower river and the loss to the Sind of millions of acres of surrounding farmland to the sea or salt and of hundreds of thousands of acres of ecologically important mangrove swamp.

The river valley was the site of the prehistoric Indus valley civilizationIndus valley civilization,
ancient civilization that arose about 3300 B.C. in the valley of the Indus River and its tributaries, in the northwestern portion of the Indian subcontinent, i.e., present-day Pakistan, and was at its height from about 2600 B.C. to about 1900 B.C.
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, and the Indus was once considered to be the western boundary of India. The use of the Indus and its tributaries has been a source of conflict between Pakistan and India, although a treaty by which the waters were to be shared was signed in 1960; the use of the river system's waters also is an issue between the provinces of Punjab and Sind within Pakistan.


(in -dŭs) (Indian) A constellation in the southern hemisphere near Grus, the brightest stars being of 3rd magnitude. The star Epsilon (Ɛ) Indi, one of the Sun's near neighbors, is located on the northwestern edge of the constellation (see Epsilon Indi). Abbrev.: Ind; genitive form: Indi; approx. position: RA 21h, dec –60°; area: 294 sq deg.



(Sanskrit, Sindhu; Pashto, Abba Sin, “father of the rivers”), a river in China, India, and Pakistan. Length, 3,180 km; basin area, 980,000 sq km. Sources of the Indus are located on the slopes of the Kailas Range (Tibetan Highlands) at heights of approximately 5,300 m.

Along its upper reaches it flows northwest along the floor of a deep tectonic valley, forming numerous rocky gorges. Below the mouth of the Gilgit River it turns to the southwest, cutting its way through the spurs of the Himalayas and the Hindu Kush.

Along its middle course it intersects hilly low-lying mountains and is joined by a large tributary, the Kabul, which in terms of water content is almost equal to the Indus. At the Kalabagh Barrage, the Indus, cutting through the spurs of the Sulaimon Range and the Salt Range, enters the area of the Indo-Gangetic Plain, where it flows along the floor of a broad valley and divides into a number of branches and channels. After the confluence of the Indus with its largest tributary, the Sutlej River, the lower course of which is called the Panjnad, the width of its channel grows from 400–500 m to 1–2 km, and during periods of flooding, to 5–7 km over floodplains (up to 20–22 km in the area of the city of Dera Ismail Khan). The river bed is embanked over considerable distances in order to protect adjoining territories from flooding.

Along its lower course, the Indus crosses the western edge of the Thar Desert. Below the city of Hyderabad the Indus delta begins (area, approximately 8,000 sq km), where the river divides into 11 basic branches and flows into the Arabian Sea.

In mountainous areas the Indus is fed chiefly by the waters of melted snow and ice, and over the remaining area of the basin, by waters from monsoon rains. There are spring and summer high waters (March to September); water levels in the mountains increase by 10–15 m and in plains areas by 5–7 m. Average flow rate at the city of Hyderabad is 3,850 cu m per sec. In heavy-water years flow rates reaching 30,000 cu m per sec have been recorded. During droughts the Indus sometimes dries up along its lower course and does not reach the Arabian Sea. The Indus annually deposits up to 450 million tons of detritus.

More than 11 million hectares of land (mainly in the Punjab and the delta) are irrigated in the basin of the Indus. Fourteen large dams have been built, including the Sukkur Barrage, which irrigates over 1.7 million hectares. Overall length of irrigation canals is approximately 65,000 km.

The Indus is usually navigable from its mouth to the city of Dera Ismail Khan. Flat-bottom boats may travel further up to the city of Attock at the mouth of the Kabul River. The cities of Sukkur and Hyderabad are situated along the Indus, and the city of Karachi (Pakistan) is on the delta.


Boldyrev, A. A., A. I. Il’in, and Iu. M. Novikov. Ispol’zovanie vodnykh resursov Indii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1961.
Vodnye resursy i vodokhoziaistvennye problemy stran Azii. Moscow, 1967.



A constellation, right ascension 21 hours, declination 55° south. Also known as Indian.


a river in S Asia, rising in SW Tibet in the Kailas Range of the Himalayas and flowing northwest through Kashmir, then southwest across Pakistan to the Arabian Sea: important throughout history, esp for the Indus Civilization (about 3000 to 1500 bc), and for irrigation. Length: about 2900 km (1800 miles)
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