Calling it a "bid to halt China's silk route ambition", the Centre has banned 59 Chinese apps. The most popular amongst those are TikTok, WeChat and Cam Scanner. The press statement issued by the ministry of electronics, information and technology says the decision was taken to secure the sovereignty of the country and the data of Indians. But officials say this is India's first "salvo to China" after the border clashes, showing that "India has a diverse range of retaliatory options."
"This move will safeguard the interest of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace," a MEITy statement said.
Government functionaries said that this move could erode valuation of these Chinese companies by "millions of dollars."
The Centre has also expressed hope that this move will find support from opposition leaders and citizens of the country since opposition leaders had called for action against apps which compromise on data safety from the floor of Parliament. Hashtags demanding boycott of Chinese apps have also trended on social media in the days after India lost 20 men in Galway clash.
Apps like WeChat and Share it have been accused of spying by the intelligence agencies. Allegations have been made that we chat founders are linked to the communist party of China. Beauty plus and You Cam have been accused of stealing data from phone, while TikTok is in the dock for spying, stealing data and compromising safety of users. Similar allegations have been made against phone maker Xiaomi's apps as well. Cam scanner, one of the most commonly used app fo scanning documents is also on the banned list as is UC browser.
"We hope India's stand will encourage other countries too to take action against these Chinese apps," officials said.
When asked about unemployment impact of this decision, government functionaries said that this is a chance for Indian developers to come up with Indian alternatives and promote "atmnirbharta" or self reliance. Chingari, an Indian alternative to TikTok was reportedly downloaded hundred thousand times since the news of ban on Chinese app spread.
The decision to ban was in the work after intelligence agencies, Indian cyber crime coordination center computer emergency response team and the National Security Council secretariat flagged off the breaches by these apps in mid June but as per officials the decision was fast forwarded in wake of demand for action against China post Galwan faceoff.