Is India bending over backwards to please China?
And by trying to muzzle the Dalai Lama and close down Delhi during the Olympic torch relay, it has shown weakness, which will only encourage China to throw its weight around more.
There is also concern about the modernisation of the Chinese army, and the steady improvement of road and rail links in Tibet which are altering the military balance of power. Then there is talk of fresh Chinese claims to the northern tip of Sikkim.
“Given the growing perception that the UPA government lacks resolve… it is no surprise that Beijing has put the historically undisputed border with Sikkim back into
contestation,” the Indian Express wrote in an editorial.
Bharat Bhushan in the Mail Today said India had bent over backwards to China without any apparent dividend, while Brahma Chellaney argues China is trying to tie India down in the Himalayas “in order to avert the rise of a peer rival in Asia”.
But does India have any choice but quiet diplomacy? Should India swallow its pride and keep China happy over the Tibet question, even put up with a bit of border wrangling, and concentrate on the bigger picture?
Trade ties are booming and India stands to gain from a closer relationship with China, after all.
Or are the critics right?
What message should Pranab Mukherjee be taking to Beijing this week? Hindi-Chini bhai, bhai (Indians and Chinese are brothers)? Or India is not to be messed with?