By Adedapo Adesanya
The Indian government on Monday announced the ban of 59 apps developed by Chinese firms in retaliation for the June 15 clashes between both countries in which 20 Indian soldiers died in action.
In a statement, the government said the apps were blocked “in view of the information available they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
ByteDance’s TikTok, which counts India as its biggest market, Community and Video Call apps from Xiaomi, which is the top smartphone vendor in India, UC Browser, UC News, Shareit, CM Browser, Club Factory (India’s third-largest e-commerce firm), ES File Explorer are among the 59 apps that India’s Ministry of Electronics and IT has placed an embargo on.
“The Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) has also received many representations from citizens regarding security of data and breach of privacy impacting upon public order issues,” the Indian government agency said.
All of the aforementioned apps are currently live on Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store in India.
The Indian government said it had 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.”
Monday evening’s announcement is the latest standoff between the two neighbouring nations after the deadly border earlier this month that stoked historical tensions between them.
An anti-China sentiment has been gaining mindshare in India in recent weeks ever since more than 20 Indian soldiers were killed over a clash in the Himalayas earlier this month. “Boycott China” has been trending on Twitter in India ever since as a growing number of people posted videos about destroying Chinese-made smartphones, TVs and other products.
Chinese smartphone makers command more than 80 percent of the smartphone market in India, which is the world’s second largest.
Experts suggested that the ban on apps is a major blow to China’s Digital Silk Route ambitions, eroding millions of dollars from the valuation of its companies. This could also lead to more countries following India’s path in acting against these apps.
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