#BackOffIndia, a Twitter trend which has become popular in Nepal, exemplifies the anger that India’s neighbours feel after decades of it bullying every country it shares borders with. India’s tendencies of starting border tensions and claiming territory it does not have a right to as its own has culminated in a backlash by its neighbours, most recently Nepal, which is fighting back against inaugurating a new road in Uttarakhand which leads to territory that is claimed by Kathmandu, near the border with China.

It is a classic case of India’s bullying tactics: a unilateral gesture (the inauguration) over what it knows is a controversial territory to claim it as its own, disregarding any attempts at dialogue with the other party. What India had not predicted was its former ally Nepal’s reaction. The Nepalese government’s response, of the lower house of parliament, approving a new national emblem with a political map that includes the disputed territories, is a strong reaction, borne out of the issues becoming an emotional, politically charged campaign amongst the Nepali public.

This is another addition in the series of diplomatic setbacks for Delhi. Having started fights in Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and China, India must realise now that intimidation is a tactic that is no longer working, especially where it did before in small countries like Nepal. India has overplayed its hand. The BJP may have appeased its voters for now, but its actions in Jammu and Kashmir, along the LAC and disputed areas with Nepal will not sustain.

Through its fascist policies, India has now found itself in a lose-lose situation: either backtrack and appear weak at home, or perpetuate its blunders and lose face in the international community. It must learn from the departure of cordial relations with its last friendly neighbour. Building popular support on the basis of xenophobia and aggression towards other countries is ultimately not a tenable strategy.