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This article is about the river in Punjab. For the Royal Navy vessels named after it, see HMS Sutlej. For the river known as River Sutlej in Hong Kong, see River Sutlej (Hong Kong).

The Sutlej River (alternatively spelled as Satluj River) (Punjabi: ਸਤਲੁਜ, Hindi: सतलुज, Sanskrit : शतद्रु (shatadru) Urdu: درياۓ ستلُج‎ ) is the longest of the five rivers that flow through the historic crossroads region of Punjab in northern India and Pakistan. It is located north of the Vindhya Range, south of the Hindu Kush segment of the Himalayas, and east of the Central Sulaiman Range in Pakistan. The Sutlej River is also known as Satadree.

The Sutlej is sometimes known as the Red River. It is the easternmost tributary of the Indus River. Its source is Lake Rakshastal in Tibet. From there, under the Tibetan name Langqên Zangbo (Elephant River), it flows at first west-northwest for about 260 kilometres (160 mi) to the Shipki La pass, entering India in Himachal Pradesh state. It then turns slightly, heading west-southwest for about 360 kilometres (220 mi) to meet the Beas River near Makhu, Firozpur district, Punjab state.

Continuing west-southwest, the Sutlej enters Pakistan about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) east of Bhedian Kalan, Kasur District, Punjab province, continuing southwest to water the ancient and historical former Bahawalpur princely state.

About 17 kilometres (11 mi) north of Uch Sharif, the Sutlej unites with the Chenab River, forming the Panjnad River, which finally flows into the Indus river about 100 kilometres (62 mi) west of the city of Bahawalpur. The area to the southeast on the Pakistani side of the Indian border is called the Cholistan Desert and, on the Indian side, the Thar Desert.

The Indus then flows through a gorge near Sukkur and the fertile plains region of Sindh, forming a large delta region between the border of Gujarat, India and Pakistan, finally terminating in the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi, Pakistan.

Contrary to the claims of Punjab state in India, a small part of Panchkula district in Haryana state is part of the Sutlej river basin area.

The waters of the Sutlej are allocated to India under the Indus Waters Treaty between India and Pakistan, and are mostly diverted to irrigation canals in India. There are several major hydroelectric projects on the Sutlej, including the 1,000 MW Bhakra Dam, the 1,000 MW Karcham Wangtoo Hydroelectric Plant, and the 1,530 MW Nathpa Jhakri Dam. There has been a proposal to build a 214-kilometre (133 mi) long heavy freight canal, to be known as the Sutlej-Yamuna Link (SYL), in India to connect the Sutlej and Yamuna rivers. The project is intended to connect the Ganges, which flows to the east coast of the subcontinent, with points west, via Pakistan. When completed, the SYL would enable inland shipping from India's east coast to its west coast (on the Arabian sea) without having to round the southern tip of India by sea, vastly shortening shipping distances, alleviating pressures on seaports, avoiding sea hazards, creating business opportunities along the route, raising real estate values, raising tax revenue, and establishing important commercial links and providing jobs for north-central India's large population. However, the proposal has met with obstacles and has been referred to the Supreme Court of India.


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