The Global Times, which is known to reflect the thinking of the Chinese leadership, wondered what made India so confident when even the US thought twice before "messing" with China on sensitive issues.
An op-ed in the daily followed a meeting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee had with the Tibetan spiritual leader. India also pledged financial support for Mongolia after Beijing punitively hiked tariff on trucks following his visit after Mongolia hosted the Dalai Lama.
"New Delhi has long held the Dalai Lama issue as leverage that it can use against China. Mukherjee met the Tibetan separatist in exile in India this month, probably as moral support to Mongolia, which mired itself in diplomatic trouble after receiving the Dalai Lama in November," said the Global Times piece authored by Wen Dao.
"India wants to disturb China's pace of development by taking advantage of China's national and international problems, most of which have nothing to do with India's national interests," Wen wrote. "India has used the Dalai Lama card from time to time in a retaliatory move against China," it said.
The Dalai Lama has lived in India since fleeing his homeland in 1959.
The Global Times said Mongolia gave in to Beijing and said sorry for hosting the Dalai Lama before New Delhi could start the $1 billion credit line it had promised to Ulan Bator. Mongolia "tried to seek support from India, hoping that by allying with China's competitor, Beijing would be forced to give in.
"India's way of dealing with the issue shows, once again, the gap between its ambition and its strength. It is way beyond India's capability to acquire leverage against China by employing a proxy or challenging China's bottom line."
The newspaper asked India to learn lessons how Beijing and US President-elect Donald J. Trump dealt with the situation after he spoke to Taiwanese President Tsai-ing Wen on telephone.
"After putting out feelers to test China's determination to protect its essential interests, Trump has met China's restrained but pertinent countermeasures, and must have understood that China's bottom line - sovereign integrity and national unity - is untouchable.
"Even the US would have to think twice before it messes with China on such sensitive problems, so what makes India so confident that it could manage? "Sometimes, India behaves like a spoilt kid, carried away by the lofty crown of being 'the biggest democracy in the world'. India has the potential to be a great nation, but the country's vision is short-sighted."