Thursday, February 18, 2021

India permanently banning 59 Chinese apps as new border skirmishes erupt

The original bans followed a skirmish with Chinese troops at a disputed Himalayan border site which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers.

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India’s electronics and information technology ministry has issued fresh instructions to make permanent a ban temporarily imposed on the video app TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps in June, Indian media reported late on Monday.

When it first imposed the ban, the Indian government gave the 59 apps a chance to explain their position on compliance with privacy and security requirements, the Times of India reported on Monday.

The apps include ByteDance’s popular TikTok, Tencent Holdings’ WeChat and Alibaba’s UC Browser.

“The government is not satisfied with the response given by these companies. Hence, the ban for these 59 apps is permanent now,” business newspaper Livemint quoted a source familiar with the notices as saying.

The ministry’s June order stated that the apps were “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.

That order, which India referred to as a “digital strike”, followed a skirmish with Chinese troops at a disputed Himalayan border site which resulted in the deaths of 20 Indian soldiers, according to Reuters.

On Monday, the same day the ban was made permanent, Indian and Chinese troops brawled once again on their contested Himalayan border, causing injuries on both sides.

In September, India banned another 118 mobile apps, including Tencent’s popular videogame PUBG, as it stepped up the pressure on Chinese technology companies following the standoff at the border.

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