The government on Monday night decided to ban the operation of 59 apps owned or backed by the Chinese, including the popular video app TikTok, UC Browser, WeChat, Shareit and CamScanner. The government said these apps were “engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order.”
Describing these as “malicious apps”, the government said, there were being used in mobile and non-mobile internet-enabled devices, and there were “raging concerns” about the “data security and privacy of 130 crore Indians”.
There were “several complaints about misuse of some apps on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an illegal manner to servers located outside India”, a press statement said.
The government has asked Google’s Android play store and Apple iOS app store to stop the download of these Chinese apps and block the usage of those already installed.
The government has warned that action will be taken against companies that do not comply with its order within the given timelines.
Law, Justice and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday tweeted: ‘For safety, security, defence, sovereignty and integrity of India, the government has banned 59 mobile apps. Jai Hind.”
This is a timely and brave step taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi amidst growing tensions over military build-up by China near the Line of Actual Control. These Chinese apps had captivated millions of Indians and were making huge fortunes.
For example, TikTok, a popular short video sharing Chinese app, earned about Rs 25 crore in revenue during October-December 2019 quarter in India, where 611 million Indians have so far downloaded this app.
India alone accounts for over 30 per cent of TikTok’s worldwide 2 billion downloads. TikTok was targeting Rs 100 crore revenue during the July-September quarter this year in India.
There are 800 million internet users in India who are enjoying the benefit of low internet costs and nearly half of them are below 25 years of age.
The Chinese apps were catering to their hunger for content on mobile devices. The ban on Chinese apps is the first big step taken by the government, as a retaliatory measure, to hit Chinese business interests in India.
This comes at a time when Chinese army continues to carry out massive build-up in eastern Ladakh, and the Indian armed forces are busy in mirror deployment.
There are intelligence reports that the Chinese army is planning to carry out another treachery near the LAC, and its air force has activated two or three air bases close to Ladakh in Aksai Chin.
More than 50 Chinese fighter jets have been deployed and heliports have been built for landing and take-off of helicopters.
Clearly, China is trying too hard to test India’s patience and our armed forces too are ready to retaliate swiftly.
India’s message to China is clear, as enunciated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi: We want peace, but if any country dares to challenge our sovereignty and territorial integrity, we will give a swift reply.
WATCH AAJ KI BAAT, JUNE 15 EPISODE:
Aaj Ki Baat: Monday to Friday, 9 PM
India’s Number One and the most followed Super Prime Time News Show ‘Aaj Ki Baat – Rajat Sharma Ke Saath was launched just before the 2014 General Elections. Since its inception, the show is redefining India’s super-prime time and is numerically far ahead of its contemporaries.