India bans TikTok, other Chinese apps amid border standoff

NITI Aayog CEO Says Apps Should Adhere to India's Data Integrity Privacy Sovereignty and Transparency

"There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians", the statement said, and added that "it has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country".

"The ban will affect not only the employment of local Indian workers who support these apps, but also the interests of Indian users and the employment and livelihoods of many creators and entrepreneurs", she asserted.

"In view of the emergent nature of threats, [the Ministry of Information Technology] has chose to block 59 apps since in view of information available they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order", said a statement issued by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

Chinese short-video making app TikTok on Tuesday said it is in the process of complying with the Indian government order to ban 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, and is not sharing any data of Indian users with the Chinese government.

The ban comes after a deadly border conflict between the two nuclear-armed nations earlier this month in which 20 Indian soldiers have died.

The list of apps that have been banned includes the likes of TikTok which has been banned in India in the past as well.

"China is strongly concerned", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian was quoted by ANI as saying.

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China and India have long had a prickly relationship. Chinese flags were set on fire and traders destroyed Chinese goods at scattered street protests.

Ties were strained last August when New Delhi revoked the semi-autonomous status of Indian-controlled Kashmir and split off Ladakh - parts of which are claimed by China - into a new administrative territory.

India shares United States unease about growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean and New Delhi has bolstered defence cooperation with Washington as well as Australia and Japan.

Jhaker noted that the IP addresses of these server-based banned apps will soon be in the blacklisted database, so that they become unusable in India.

TikTok, which has amassed over 200 million users in India, identifies Asia's third-largest economy as its biggest overseas market. There have been calls for banning Chinese businesses, which reportedly export goods worth almost $60 billion to India. "They'll be anxious that they might invest billions of dollars into the country and either Indian consumers will boycott and protest against them, or the government will just ban them because they're backed by Chinese", Rein said.

The ban on the apps "is fine as a gesture of protest but we should be very careful with escalation right now", said Manoj Joshi from the Observer Research Foundation, an Indian think tank.

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