India bans 118 more Chinese apps as border tensions escalate

03, Sep. 2020

A man opens the PUBG app on his mobile phone in India after the government this week blocked 118 more Chinese mobile applications including this gaming one. (PTI)
A man opens the PUBG app on his mobile phone in India after the government this week blocked 118 more Chinese mobile applications including this gaming one. (PTI)

NEW DELHI, NNA- India banned more than 100 more Chinese mobile apps from domestic use this week, bringing the total to 224, after border tensions worsened.

India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology on Wednesday announced a ban on 118 mobile apps with ties to China. The ministry cited risks to privacy and national security as reasons.

The apps were banned because “in view of information available, they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order,” the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said it had received complaints including reports of “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.”

Banned apps include cloud storage service Tencent Weiyun, business collaboration service WeChat Work and the popular mobile game PUBG.

According to a report by mobile app market research firm Sensor Tower, as of December last year, PUBG Mobile had nearly 555 million user downloads worldwide with India contributing 21 percent.

The latest bans followed a new flap along the Sino-Indian border.

India’s Ministry of Defence said in a statement Monday that on the nights of August 29 and 30, Chinese People's Liberation Army troops had violated existing border consensus. The troops “carried out provocative military movements to change the status quo,” the statement says.

China rejected India’s accusations, saying their “border troops never crossed the line,” the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi said.

A border standoff in the Himalayas sparked a deadly brawl between Indian and Chinese soldiers on June 15 in the disputed Galwan Valley in the eastern Ladakh region resulting in 20 deaths on the Indian side and an unknown number in China.

Since then India has taken several retaliatory measures against China. It has tightened rules on bidding for government contracts and enhanced e-commerce regulations -- moves seen as curbing China’s business interests in the country.