The Government of India declared a ban on Monday, 29 June, 59 mobile apps including TikTok, UC Browser and other Chinese apps, calling them “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order.” The ban is live since 29 June.
Since many China-made apps have been suspected of gleaning the data of users and feed to Chinese intelligence agencies, this move by the Indian government looks to be in line to avoid the same.
With this decision coming through, the biggest blow has been caught by short-video making app TikTok which has a huge following in India. In 2019, TikTok had a monthly active user base of 120 million in India which is one of the app’s largest in the world.
Minister of Information and Technology, Ravi Shankar Prasad has welcomed this move as a necessary step for the “safety, security, defense, sovereignty & integrity of India.”
The Ministry of Information Technology also added that 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 unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India.
According to the government, this move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users.
This move comes amid the face-off between India and China in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.
Modi exits Weibo
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official page on Chinese social media website Weibo went complete off on Wednesday with the removal of his photograph and all of his 115 posts made over the past five years.
This marks a sudden end to Mr. Modi’s “Weibo foreign policy” in China that was launched with much fanfare in 2015 as a means to directly communicate with the people of China before his first visit there as Prime Minister. His first message said, “Hello China! Looking forward to interacting with Chinese friends through Weibo”. The Indian Embassy said at the time this was “a first of a kind attempt by any leader across India.” Mr. Modi had 2.44 lakh followers.
China’s reaction to the ban
On Tuesday, China hit out at the move by India to block 59 apps. It described the action as “a deliberate interference in practical cooperation” between the two countries.
China’s State media warned that the move would bring economic repercussions, such as affecting outbound Chinese investment into India.
In separate statements issued by its Foreign Ministry and Embassy in New Delhi, Beijing called on India to review the move. “India’s measure selectively and discriminatorily aims at certain Chinese apps on ambiguous and far-fetched grounds, runs against fair and transparent procedure requirements, abuses national security exceptions, and suspects of violating the WTO rules,” the Embassy said. “It also goes against the general trend of international trade and E-commerce, and is not conducive to consumer interests and the market competition in India.”
Drop in the investments
According to a survey of experts, they predicted Chinese overseas direct investment (ODI) into India will fall sagaciously in 2020, with more than two experts forecasting a more than 50 percent cut. Qian Feng, director of the research department of the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, said the coming next year would not be only a 50 percent loss for China’s investors and their investments in India but also a “tremendous impact” on the economic relations.
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