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NEW DELHI: The Union electronics and information technology ministry banned another 43 Chinese mobile applications, including popular online shopping app AliExpress, video sharing app Snack Video, and business card reader CamCard.
The move was in the interest of India’s sovereignty, integrity, and security, the ministry said.
This is the third such move by the Indian government with the more than six-month-long border tensions with China refusing to die down despite several rounds of negotiations at the diplomatic and military levels.
The apps were banned under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act.
“This action was taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order,” the ministry said in a statement.
Tuesday’s move takes the total number of banned Chinese apps to 267. In June, the Center had banned 59 apps, including Bytedance’s TikTok and Alibaba’s UC Browser, citing security concerns.
Thereafter, India banned 47 more Chinese apps that were operating as clones of the 59 apps. In September, 118 more apps ,including popular gaming app PUBG and Baidu, were banned.
The government has issued the order to block access of users in India to these apps. The decision was based on a comprehensive report from the home ministry’s Indian Cybercrime Coordination Center.
Major apps of the Alibaba Group, including AliSuppliers Mobile, Alibaba Workbench, AliExpress, and Alipay Cashier, besides driver aggregator Lalamove, and a bunch of dating apps, such as China Social, AsianDate and WeDate, were banned from Tuesday.
The step may prove to be a shot in the arm for Indian app makers, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of a self-reliant nation. Indian short video-sharing app Chingari said some of these apps were banned earlier as well, but they just cloaked themselves under new identities to enter the Indian market.
“The ban is a very smart move and sends out a clear message that Chinese apps can’t use such tactics to engage in activities that are ‘prejudicial to India’s sovereignty’,” said Sumit Ghosh, chief executive, Chingari.
Experts hailed the move. “The biggest security concern is that a lot of apps on your smartphones collect massive amounts of data, which have nothing to do with the service they provide,” said Aditya Narang, co-founder of cybersecurity firm SafeHouse Technologies.
(With inputs from Agencies)