DENIS CHARLET / AFP ( Lille, May5, 2020)

The Indian Government has banned 59 Chinese Apps including the popular Tik Tok, Helo, and Shareit citing national security.

A formal order instructing phone companies to block the Apps was used after weeks of discussions which started much before the recent clash between India and China. At least 20 Indian soldiers were killed while the number of casualties on the Chinese side is unknown yet.

Chinese made UC browser, Clean Master, Viva Video, Parallel Space, Photo Wonder are among the Apps that have been banned.

A statement from the information technology ministry said a decision has been taken to block 59 applications “since in view of the information available, they are engaged in activities prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and Public order”.

Indian intelligence agencies have been pushing for restricting many Chinese Apps on the ground that they were designed to extract data and park them outside the country which would intrude into the privacy of its 1.3 billion people.

Local products to get priority

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his address to the nation on Sunday (28th June) called on the people to boycott Chinese goods.

“We will buy local and be vocal for local and this will help India become stronger” he said in his broadcast.

Within minutes of the announcement, the Indian government’s official Tik Tok account which has more than a million followers was disabled.

Traders and Civil Society issued a countrywide call to boycott Chinese products after the June 15 border clashes.

Clear Message

The state-owned telecom company has suspended the purchase of Chinese equipment for its 4G upgrade and Indian Railways as cancelled a contract with a Chinese company worth $63 mn.

Tik Tok has over 100 million users in India and the ban is likely to have a huge impact on Indian creators who depend on them for their sole income.

‘This is a clear message to China’ Indian analysts point out.