On 2nd September 2020, India banned 118 Chinese apps, including some of the popular apps like PUBG and some apps from Baidu and Xiaomi’s ShareSave as well. The Department of Telecommunication prohibited these apps on the grounds of promoting activities prejudicial to India’s sovereignty and integrity, India’s defense, the security of the state, and public order.
Claims by the Indian Government
According to the Indian Government, these apps tend to collect and share personal data of the users and tend to pose a severe threat to the country’s security. The department of technology called this ban a digital strike, carried out in response to the recent attempted Chinese incursion along a disputed Himalayan border.
The response of the Chinese Government
The Chinese Ministry of Commerce, on 4th September 2020, strongly opposed this ban. According to them, this action of the Indian Government violates Chinese investors and service providers’ legal interests. They also claimed that this decision went against the World Trade Organization guidelines and asked the Indian Government to rectify their mistakes. The Chinese Government further added that the economic tie-up between India and China creates mutual benefits. They requested the Indian Government to maintain the hard-won bilateral cooperation between the two countries so that the economic benefits are not hindered for either of them.
Effect of the digital strike on India
According to experts in the economic and technical fields, this move made by the Indian Government has stalled several business operations of Chinese companies in India. They say that the sudden change in business may pose risks of withdrawal of Chinese investment chiefly. This ban may give negative signals to Chinese firms and investors already in India and those planning to start their investment in India, leading to abrupt withdrawal of these investments.