India's hardline position in global climate talks has made it a potential villain for Western nations as it warns that its greenhouse emissions, mostly from burning dirty coal, may keep rising past the middle of the century.
Its little-known team came to Paris with a mission to force rich nations to lead the way in curbing emissions. Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the summit that "climate justice" meant poor nations needed "room to grow".
Such positions may have prompted U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to say that India would be a "challenge" to deal with in Paris but, in the corridors of the U.N. climate summit, it is winning the support of other developing nations.
These see India - already the number three greenhouse emitter behind China and the United States, and likely to be number two by 2040 - as the main champion of the rights of the global poor to burn more energy to grow.
Others, too, concede it is a just cause for India - far poorer than China and with 300 million of its 1.25 billion people lacking access to electricity - and do not see signs of intransigence that could scupper a deal.
Jennifer Morgan, of the independent U.S.-based World Resources Institute, said the idea of India as a spoiler was "a storm in a teacup". "In the meeting rooms, India is defending its interests, and proposing solutions," she said.
And a source at the French presidency said India was contributing constructively, "not standing on the sidelines and just watching".