The Indian government on Monday banned nearly 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, WeChat and UC Browser and Xiaomi's Mi Community over national security concerns as India-China bilateral relations remain strained after the death of 20 Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese PLA troops in eastern Ladakh.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has issued a list of 59 Chinese apps that are now banned in the country.
"These measures have been undertaken since there is credible information that these apps are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order," said a MeitY statement.
The ministry received complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users' data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India.
"The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures," the statement read.
The MeitY said the move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile users.
"There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country," said the government.
Other Chinese apps in the banned list are Club Factory, SHAREit, Likee, Mi Video Call (Xiaomi), Weibo, Baidu, Bigo Live and more.
Earlier this month, Indian intelligence agencies red flagged these Chinese apps over safety and privacy issues of users.
The government needs to either block access to these apps or advise people to stop their use, according to the intel inputs, said the agencies.
The report comes amid growing chorus from Indian activists to boycott Chinese products due to the border tensions between the two countries in Ladakh.
The recommendations of the intelligence agencies have backing of the National Security Council Secretariat which determined that certain China-linked applications could be detrimental to the country's security, said the report citing an unnamed government official.
How Indians Are Reacting:
A user wrote, "#ChineseAppBlocked Then: Ek K Badle Dus Sar Now: Bees K Badle 59 Chinese Apps Hai na master stroke? #ChineseAppsBanned."
"Only one word to these apps. GET LOST. Jay Hind !," another user tweeted.
Dear Modi ji.... I'm so happy that you have #ChineseAppsBanned— ತರ್ಲೆ 𝒯𝒽𝒾𝓂𝓂𝒶 (@BLRrocKS) June 30, 2020
We are ready to pay not only Rs 83 /L for ⛽ but we can pay even Rs 500... for the master stroke... 🙏 🙏 🙏
We care about 59 apps being banned, every thing else, we don't care... 🙏 🙏 pic.twitter.com/qB0IurPzRk
Government banned these chinese apps from India. A great initiative.— Aman_Singh (@Aman_singh_96) June 30, 2020
But... There's many more apps which should be banned, like truecaller.@CyberDost #ChineseAppsBanned #59AppsBanned #IndiaPushesBackChina pic.twitter.com/LtAcbsXnth
India conducted its first digital surgical strike few hours back in which #59apps of China which were threat to security and sovereignty of our country were banned. #ChineseAppsBanned #TikTok pic.twitter.com/3919YONLXn— हर्षवर्द्धन (@Harshvardhan_km) June 30, 2020
Big Breaking: Government of India has banned and deemed all 59 Apps of Chinese origin as illegal.— Arpit Bhatnagar🇮🇳 (@arpitbhtnagar) June 29, 2020
This is unprecedented and very much welcome step by @narendramodi led Indian government.#ChineseAppsBanned