ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Fooling the Public

There is nothing "historic" about ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Whether it is talk about looking again at the Indus Waters Treaty, or claiming there is something exceptional in India ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change, the Modi government is successfully using public ignorance about these instruments to project itself as tough towards Pakistan on the one hand, and compliant and helpful to the world community on the other. In doing so, it is fooling the public because the fine print reveals a somewhat different, and less dramatic, reality.

Under the Indus Waters Treaty, for instance, neither India nor Pakistan can unilaterally renege on commitments made on water sharing. So seeking to “punish” Pakistan for the attack on Uri by stating that “blood and water cannot flow together”, as the Prime Minister did recently, is little more than dramatic rhetoric without substance. India gains nothing from this kind of talk. Instead, ­being the upper riparian, it appears the bully while Pakistan, the lower riparian, is seen as the victim. It also projects India as a country willing to renege on internationally agreed commitments to appease domestic demands for “action” against Pakistan.

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