After banning TikTok and about 58 apps with Chinese links, India has added 47 more Chinese apps in a sanction called ‘digital strike’.
The Indian government said the apps are engaging in activities that are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity” of the country last month.
According to sources, these apps are clones of the previously banned apps. An official notification regarding the ban and the list of applications will be released soon, sources added.
The ban came in the backdrop of the stand-off along the Line of Actual Control in eastern Ladakh with Chinese troops. The 59 apps with Chinese links blocked by the government include TikTok, WeChat and UC Browser.
Reacting to India’s ban of the Chinese apps at a Chinese Foreign Ministry briefing, spokesman Zhao Lijian said, China is strongly concerned about the relevant notice issued by the Indian side. We are checking and verifying the situation. “I want to stress that the Chinese government always asks the Chinese businesses to abide by international rules, local laws and regulations in their business cooperation with foreign countries,” he said.
Following India’s move, other countries like Australia and the US are also planning to ban Chinese apps because of the security threat they possess.
Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad had said India’s surprise move to ban 59 Chinese apps was a “digital strike.” “We banned Chinese apps to protect data of countrymen; it was a digital strike,” Mr Prasad said at a BJP rally in West Bengal, news agency Press Trust of India reported.
The Information Technology Ministry in a statement said it has received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India”.
“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the statement said.