Expert Speak Digital Frontiers
Published on Nov 25, 2020
India’s score of banned Chinese apps: 267 — and counting

In cybersphere, the total number of Chinese apps banned by India on now stands at 267, with 43 of them banned on 24 November. The reason is the same: these apps are “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.” These apps offer a wide variety of services, from “Alibaba Workbench” and “Cashier Wallet” to “Soul — Follow the soul to find you” and “Rela — Lesbian Social Network”. This is the fourth set of bans:

First, on 29 June 2020, India banned 59 Chinese apps.

Second, on 28 July 2020, it banned 47 apps.

Third, on 2 September 2020, it banned 118 apps.

And now, on 24 November 2020, it has banned 43 apps.

Cynics may argue that banning digital apps does nothing to real intrusions by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). They ignore the fact that tech intrusions by Xi Jinping’s ambitions are as dangerous to the privacy and data security of citizens as hostile attempts at the border. If anything, it is a digital copy-paste of Beijing’s territorial aggression and intent. What India has started and the US consolidated, the world must now follow. For anyone still unconvinced about Xi’s ploy to turn every entity, from companies to citizens to apps into spies merely needs to read Articles 7, 9, 12 and 14 of China’s National Intelligence Law (2017).

On the Ladakh border, two things are clear. First, the CCP that Xi Jinping has hijacked and transformed into a vehicle of aggression is unable and unwilling to return to pastures of peace. Unable because India is not giving it a face save, unwilling because its ambitions of aggression transcend the win-win Xi speaks of. Second, possibly for the first time in recent history, the PLA is meeting its match in India. This is in addition to political, economic and diplomatic pressures India has put on China, the new alignments it is now openly exploring through the Quad, and the new alliances it is sewing up through the Malabar exercise. India’s strong defence to Beijing’s incursions, its control around Beijing’s false propaganda and its dignified stance to Chinese threats has told the world that the rise of China neither is, nor will be, peaceful. Those who worship the authoritarian machine called CCP should know that Ladakh has done the exact opposite to what Beijing wanted — pushed a ‘nonaligned’ India or at least an India that seeks ‘strategic autonomy’ closer to the US.

It’s not just India, CCP’s aggression is being rejected with bans across the world — 13 countries in the EU and Europe, from the UK and Italy to Sweden and Czech Republic — are rejecting Beijing’s other tool of tech intrusion: Huawei and ZTE in their 5G rollouts. These bans, on Chinese apps as well as Chinese equipment across the world, will continue.

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Gautam Chikermane

Gautam Chikermane

Gautam Chikermane is a Vice President at ORF. His areas of research are economics, politics and foreign policy. A Jefferson Fellow (Fall 2001) at the East-West ...

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