India bans 54 Chinese apps over security concerns

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India has moved to ban the use of another 54 apps linked to China-based companies, as optimism about a return to normal relations between the two neighboring countries has waned again in recent weeks.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) recommended banning the use of 54 Chinese apps, including Sweet Selfie HD, Beauty Camera, Music Player, Music Plus, Volume Booster, Video Players Media All Formats, Viva Video Editor, Nice Video Baidu, AppLock and Astracraft. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology is expected to issue an official notification soon banning the use of the apps in India.

The move came just days after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar at a joint press conference with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne in Melbourne spoke strongly about the aggression of the China along its disputed border with India. He again accused China of flouting written agreements with India. New Delhi has pointed out that China flouted its key 1993 and 1996 border peace pacts with India by deploying large numbers of troops along the disputed border between the two nations, leading to a 22-month standoff. .

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A source in New Delhi said the government decided to ban the use of the apps given the threat they posed to national security. The government has received numerous complaints about the misuse of certain mobile apps to steal and surreptitiously transmit user data in an unauthorized manner to servers outside India. The compilation of such data, mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of the nation has ultimately encroached on India’s sovereignty and integrity, he noted.

India previously banned the use of 224 apps linked to China-based companies, starting with 59 in June 2020 – just days after the military clash along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between the two nations has reached a flashpoint with the violent clash between soldiers of the Indian Army and the Chinese People’s Liberation Army in the Galwan Valley in eastern Ladakh. The apps, which were banned first, included TikTok and WeChat, owned by ByteDance Limited and Tencent Holdings Limited of China.

Beijing has protested India’s ban on apps linked to China-based companies. He accuses New Delhi of abusing the “national security exception” to World Trade Organization (WTO) rules.

Read also | Chinese app ‘Shein’ blocked but selling products on other platforms not covered: Meity at HC

New Delhi cited “raging concerns” about the “data security” and “privacy” of 130 crore Indians to justify its decision to ban the apps, cautiously avoiding formally linking its decision to the deadlock on along the disputed border between India and China. .

The stalemate began in April-May 2020 with the Chinese PLA mustering large numbers of troops along the LAC in an apparent move to change the status quo along the disputed border between the two nations and push the line towards west to encroach on India’s claimed territory. The Indian army had also deployed additional troops to counter the movement of the Chinese army. Although protracted negotiations between the two sides resulted in the mutual withdrawal of troops from both sides of Pangong Tso (lake) and Gogra post last year, the stalemate could not be resolved elsewhere along the LAKE.

Indian army and Chinese PLA commanders held the 14th round of talks on January 12, but it did not immediately lead to any breakthrough. The two sides, however, agreed to “keep in close contact and maintain dialogue through military and diplomatic channels and find a mutually acceptable resolution of outstanding issues as soon as possible.”

Although it initially stood aloof from the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics led by the United States, India on February 3 also called China’s decision to politicize the games a “regrettable” and decided not to send its acting envoy to the communist country to attend its opening. and closing ceremonies. What angered New Delhi was China’s decision to bring in one of its People’s Liberation Army (PLA) commanders, who had been injured in the clash with ISIS soldiers. Indian Army in the Galwan Valley on June 15, 2020, at the Ceremonial Torch Relay ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics.

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