Banning Chinese Apps Was a 'Digital Strike', Says Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

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Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday termed India's decision to ban 59 Chinese apps amid a tense stand-off between Indian and Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh a "digital strike".

"We banned Chinese apps to protect data of countrymen; it was a digital strike," Mr Prasad said at a BJP rally in West Bengal today," Prasad was quoted as saying in a Bengal BJP rally by news agency PTI.

The Law, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister added: "India is for peace, but if somebody casts an evil eye we will give a befitting reply."

India on Monday banned 59 apps with Chinese links, including hugely popular TikTok and UC Browser, saying they were prejudicial to sovereignty, integrity and security of the country.

The ban, which comes in the backdrop of current stand-off along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh with Chinese troops, also includes WeChat and Bigo Live.

The list of apps that have been banned includes Helo, Likee, Cam Scanner, Vigo Video, Mi Video Call, Xiaomi, Clash of Kings as well as e-commerce platforms Club Factory and Shein. This marks the largest sweep against the Chinese technology companies.

On Wednesday Prasad said India must develop its own apps and put an end to the dependence on such foreign apps.

"... the dependence on these foreign apps with their own agenda for a variety of reasons, must stop," the minister said adding that the ban provides a chance for Indian start-ups to leverage their innovative thinking and come up with "good" 'Made in India' apps.

Prasad, who was speaking at a conference organised by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology to mark the five years of Digital India, added that it would also provide a big scope for Public-Private Partnership.

Earlier on Monday, when the decision was announced, Prasad welcomed the move and said it was taken to ensure the country’s integrity and protect data and privacy of Indians.

“For safety, security, defence, sovereignty & integrity of India and to protect data & privacy of people of India the Government has banned 59 mobile apps. Jai Hind!” he wrote on Twitter.