Water Management – Institutional Reforms, Conservation Efforts, etc.

In news: Shyok River


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Shyok and other tributaries of Indus River

Why in the News?

Five soldiers lost their lives when a tank was drowned away by powerful water currents in the Shyok River during a military training exercise in Ladakh.

About Shyok River

  • The Shyok River is a significant river flowing through the Ladakh region of India and the Gilgit-Baltistan region of Pakistan.
  • It is a tributary of the Indus River and is known for its length and the rugged terrain it traverses.
  • The Shyok River spans approximately 550 kilometres in length.
  • It has a drainage basin covering parts of both India and Pakistan, making it an essential water source for the regions it traverses.

Source and Course:

  • The river originates from the Rimo Glacier, located to the southeast of the Karakoram Pass.
  • It flows northwest to enter the Nubra Valley in Ladakh, a region known for its picturesque landscapes and sand dunes.
  • The river then turns southwest and flows through the disputed region of Gilgit-Baltistan, eventually joins the Indus River near Skardu.


  • The Shyok River has several tributaries, the most notable being the Nubra River, which flows through the Nubra Valley.
  • Other significant tributaries include the Saltoro River, originating from the Siachen Glacier region.

Cultural and Historical Significance:

  • The river flows through that have been part of ancient trade routes between Central Asia and South Asia.
  • The Nubra Valley, through which the Shyok flows, is also known for its ancient monasteries and the Bactrian camels, which were used for trade along the Silk Route.

Geographical significance of Shyok River 

  • Strategic Location: The Shyok River flows through the Ladakh region of India and serves as a vital geographical feature due to its proximity to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China. Its strategic location influences military deployments and infrastructure development in the region, particularly in the context of border disputes and security concerns.
  • Glacial Melt and Water Resources: Originating from the Rimo Glacier and fed by numerous tributaries, the Shyok River contributes significantly to the water resources of the region. Its flow is crucial for agriculture, hydroelectric power generation, and sustenance of local ecosystems, impacting the livelihoods and socio-economic activities of communities along its banks.


[2020] Siachen Glacier is situated to the

(a) East of Aksai Chin

(b) East of Leh

(c) North of Gilgit

(d) North of Nubra Valley

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