India’s opposition Bharatiya Janata Party has accused the government of a “craven” and “slavish” attitude to China.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (L) shakes hands with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee before their meeting in New Delhi February 13, 2007. REUTERS/B Mathur (INDIA) The BJP and others argue that the coalition government has failed to prevent repeated Chinese incursions along the disputed border, from Ladakh in the northwest to Arunachal Pradesh in the northeast.

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”.