Along with the large middle-income countries Brazil, China, and South Africa, India has been put under increasing pressure to shoulder parts of the mitigation burden and commit to national emission reduction targets. India, however, refers to its limited capacity and widespread poverty. Is India hiding behind its poor? While others examine the distribution of emissions within the country to answer this question, we study domestic policy making for energy subsidies and access to clean energy. Empirical evidence suggests that domestic policy making is at least partially consistent with the pro-poor arguments advanced at the international level. Given their large number and the country's democratic system, the poor do have some weight in Indian politics. However, pro-poor policies end where they do not translate into greater vote shares. Moreover, India's international position ignores the existing complementarities between climate-friendly and pro-poor activities.