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India makes ban on 59 Chinese apps permanent, China calls it revenge move

(TibetanReview.net, Jan26’21) – In an apparent reflection of the state of Sino-Indian relations arising from the eight-month-old ongoing border standoff, India has made permanent on Jan 25 its ban on 59 popular apps from Chinese companies. A temporary ban was earlier imposed on these apps in Jun 2020 on ground of national security concerns pending a hearing from the owners of these app.

The banned apps include ByteDance’s TikTok, Baidu, WeChat, Alibaba’s UC Browser, shopping app Club Factory, Mi Video Call (Xiaomi), and BIGO Live.

All the permanently banned apps had already been censured in the Indian internet space as part of the government’s unprecedented action against a total of 267 apps (in various batches) since June-end last year, reported the timesofindia.com Jan 25.

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) had originally initiated action against the Chinese apps under Section 69A of the IT Act, accusing them of engaging in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of state and public order.

Forty-three more were added later on, taking the total to 267.

The report said the permanent ban came after officials in the IT Ministry expressed dissatisfaction with the response of the companies to various queries raised by the government, including their data collection and data processing methods as well as those around data security and privacy.

The report said the government had started to squeeze the influence and sway of Chinese apps in India in view of the growing tensions (including on the border) between the two countries, especially as they were accused of misusing the data of Indian citizens and businesses, surveillance and engaging in anti-India activities.

China has criticized the move through its official mouthpiece globaltimes.cn and government employed experts.

This is a “proof of allegiance” to US after Biden took office as the US President, and it is also an irrational revenge followed a series of crackdowns carried out last year, globaltimes.cn Jan 26 cited Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, as saying.

“India is taking revenge on China, and also set up a bad example for the world to revenge China, and the purpose in one side is to take revenge against China, and on the other hand is to satisfy the needs of interest groups in India, showing a tough attitude toward China,” Qian has said. 

Tellingly, the report also said the latest move by India came alongside China and India on Sunday holding the ninth round of the Corps Commander Level Meeting, in which both sides agreed to push for an early disengagement of the frontline troops and continue to stabilize and control the border situation.

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