The Indian government on Monday said that it had banned 47 applications that are clones of the 59 Chinese apps banned on June 29, according to several reports on Monday. However, an official statement has not been released yet.
A source in the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology told The Indian Express that the Centre’s main concern is the “operational ethics” of certain apps. “This is an ongoing process. If apps qualify under the same grounds of operational ethics, then they will also come under the scanner,” the unidentified government official said.
The ban on the 47 apps was put in place late last week “on grounds of national security and privacy concerns”, an individual aware of the developments told Mint. The names of the banned clones are TikTok Lite, Helo Lite, SHAREit Lite, BIGO LIVE Lite and VFY Lite, according to ANI.
The Indian government has also prepared a list of more than 250 Chinese apps that the administration will review for any user privacy or violations related to national security, unidentified sources in the government told India Today TV. These apps include Tencent-backed gaming app PUBG. A few top gaming Chinese apps are also likely to be banned in the new list that is being prepared. The Chinese apps have allegedly been sharing information with Beijing’s agencies.
On June 29, India banned the apps citing threat to national security and sovereignty. The ban came after tensions on the border between New Delhi and Beijing rose, leading to the deaths of at least 20 Indian soldiers during a “violent face-off” with Chinese troops along the Line of Actual Control. The June 29 order covered a variety of applications from e-commerce to gaming, social media, browsers, instant messaging and file sharing to target China in the online space. It includes mostly popular Chinese apps such as TikTok, WeChat, Cam Scanner.
Calls to ban Chinese products had also increased since the June 15 clashes.
On July 2, China had called India’s move to ban 59 Chinese-origin mobile apps a violation of World Trade Organization rules. China’s Ministry of Commerce spokesperson Gao Feng had said that Beijing hopes New Delhi would correct its “discriminatory actions” against Chinese companies immediately.