India’s move to ban TikTok, Helo, WeChat shocks China

Chennai: In what is being viewed as ‘digital surgical strike’ against China, the government of India on Monday night banned 59 applications, most of them popular Chinese apps such as TikTok, Helo, Shareit, Mi Video Call, Club Factory and Cam Scanner, citing threat to national security and sovereignty.

The ban comes amid continuing tensions on the border between India and China and covers a variety of applications from e-commerce to gaming, social media, browsers, instant messaging and file sharing.

While Chinese tech companies are obviously shocked after the Indian government banned 59 Chinese apps over national security concerns, desi app developers have hailed the move, saying this will help the Indian app ecosystem prosper.

“This is a welcome move from the government against platforms that have had serious privacy, cyber security and national security risks. We expect the government to continue their support for the Indian startup ecosystem,” Berges Malu, director, Public Policy, ShareChat, said.

Naveen Tewari, founder and CEO, InMobi Group said that this is the digital ‘Aatma Nirbhar’ moment that most Indians have been rooting for.

“Upon receiving recent credible inputs that such apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of India has decided to disallow the usage … both [on] mobile and non-mobile Internet-enabled devices,” the Ministry of Electronics and IT (Meity) said in a statement.

According to the Ministry, it was invoking its power under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.

“… in view of the emergent nature of threats, [the government] has decided to block 59 apps … in view of information available [that] they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order,” the government said.

 

NT Bureau