China-India Tensions Escalate; New Delhi Bans 180 Chinese Apps Including PUBG

The ban was imposed after receiving complaints from various sources including several reports about the misuse of some mobile apps, said Indian Ministry

The Indian government on Wednesday, September 2 announced a ban on PUBG Mobile, a widely popular game in the country, as well as hundreds of other Chinese apps amid India-China border tension that escalated after a fresh confrontation with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) of China was reported in Ladakh.

The government said the move to ban 118 Chinese apps was taken in the interest of India's sovereignty and integrity, defense, and security. According to the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, these apps have been banned under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, on grounds that "they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, the security of the state and public order."

Recently, in the U.S. too, the Trump administration announced moved similar restrictions on Chinese-owned social media platforms Tik Tok and WeChat. Unlike India, where the government banned all concerning Chinese apps including Tik Tok, the executive order by the U.S. government bars these apps from doing business in the country or with U.S. persons or businesses after September 20, and need divestiture of the Tik Tok app by November 12.

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Protecting Users

India's Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology said it had received many complaints about the misuse of some Chinese mobile apps on Android, as well as on iOS platforms for stealing and secretively transmitting user data to servers outside the country.

In the statement, the ministry added that "the compilation of these data, it's mining, and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defense of India" ultimately affects the sovereignty and integrity of India and "is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures."

The statement added that the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Center, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent a recommendation for blocking these malicious apps. "Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India," said the statement.

Even though the banned apps and games including, PUBG Mobile, PUBG Mobile Lite, Alipay, Arena of Valor, and Knives Out are still available for download through App Store and Play Store, Apple and Google are likely to pull these apps for Indian users shortly. As per the reports, Indian telecom operators are also expected to restrict access on the banned apps.

List of 118 banned Chinese Apps

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Concern Over Chinese Technology

In recent times, apart from the controversial TikTok app, many popular apps related to eCommerce, games, social media, among others are currently under fire but the only thing they have in common is that they all originated from China or have some links to the country.

Huawei, a Chinese multinational technology company headquartered in Shenzhen, has been fighting its own battle with the U.S. Donald Trump has issued the mega electronics empire as a 'national security risk'.

Recently Xiaomi, a Chinese electronics company founded in April 2010 and headquartered in Beijing, was accused of recording the data of millions of users, without their knowledge. As per the claims the smartphone tracked down the users' behavior, as well as interests, and sent the report back to servers hosted by another Chinese company, Alibaba.

Cheetah Mobile, the infamous Chinese internet company, has a history of launching fraud apps with dishonest ad policies. In 2020, Google removed all Cheetah Mobile official and subsidiary apps from its Play Store.

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