India bans 118 more mobile apps amidst fresh border tensions with China

The Indian government on September 1 banned 118 more Chinese mobile phone applications, including popular online game PUBG.
September 03, 2020 | 07:42
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The Indian government on September 1 banned 118 more Chinese mobile phone applications. Photo:

The Indian government on September 1 banned 118 more Chinese mobile phone applications, including popular online game PUBG, in the backdrop of the fresh tensions between the two countries in eastern Ladakh.

The Indian Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry issued a notification in this regarding stating that the apps were engaged in activities "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of State and public order,” according to Hindustan Times.

The banned apps also include Baidu, Baidu Express Edition, Tencent Watchlist, FaceU, WeChat Reading and Tencent Weiyun, besides PUBG Mobile and PUBG Mobile Lite, the statement read.

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India bans PUBG and 118 Chinese apps. Photo: Business Today

According to some reports, there are nearly 33 million active PUBG players in India, making it one of the most popular apps downloaded in the country. PUBG reportedly clocks 13 million users per day.

The ministry of electronics and information technology received several complaints from various sources, including reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on the Android and iOS platforms. The complaints alleged stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which possibly had locations outside India.

The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the statement said.

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Indian youths are seen playing PUBG game on their mobile phones in Srinagar, Kashmir. Photo: Getty Images

The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, under the Ministry of Home Affairs also sent a recommendation for blocking these controversial apps. In the public domain too, there has been a strong demand for some time to take strict action against mobile applications that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of citizens.

The move will also safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. The decision is a targeted one meant to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace, the statement said.

The Centre had first proscribed 59 Chinese apps such as TikTok, UC Browser and WeChat days after the violent conflict between Indian and Chinese soldiers in the Galwan Valley of eastern Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in June this year.

Indian special forces member reportedly killed in China border skirmish

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India said on August 30 that its soldiers thwarted 'provocative' movements by China's military near a disputed border in the Ladakh region. Photo: AP

A soldier of Tibetan origin with India's special forces has reportedly been killed in the latest border confrontation between India and China on their contested Himalayan border, fuelling concerns of a wider military confrontation between the two regional powers, Al Jazeera said.

The death is the first reported from two incidents occurring within 48 hours on the border, two months after a battle that left at least 20 Indian soldiers dead.

India and China, which fought a border war in 1962, have each accused the other of trying to cross their unofficial frontier in the Ladakh region in an attempt to gain territory.

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Indian soldiers on a highway bordering China on September 1 in Gagangir, India. Photo: Getty Images

The Indian government has not commented on the reports of the death, but Namgyal Dolkar Lhagyari, a member of the Tibetan Parliament in exile, told AFP news agency that the Tibetan-origin soldier was "martyred during the clash" on August 28 night. She did not identify the soldier by name.

She said another member of the Special Frontier Force, which reportedly includes many ethnic Tibetans who oppose China's claim to their home region, was wounded in the operation.

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, however, said on September 1 that no Indian troops had died in the latest flare-up on their frontier.

The world's two most populous countries have sent tens of thousands of troops to the region since a brutal June 15 battle fought with wooden clubs and fists.

India has said 20 troops were killed. China has acknowledged casualties but has not given figures.

The two sides have blamed each other for the latest incidents./.

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