On Monday 27 July 2020, the Government banned 47 more apps that had links with Chinese data servers. Most of these apps were either clone of the apps that were previously banned or operated by the same parent company as that of the apps banned earlier.
The list includes TikTok lite, Helo Lite, ShareIt Lite, and Bigo Live Lite, among others. The government has not released a complete list of the banned applications, though. The moves brought up the tally of the total of Chinese apps being banned in India to 106.
The IT Ministry, in a statement, said that the decision was taken “in view of the information available they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of the state and public order.”
Last month, on 29 June 2020, the government had banned 59 apps in connection with Chinese companies or data servers, including TikTok, CamScanner, Shareit, UC Browser, Baidu Map, Bigo Live and Vigo Video. E-commerce platforms, such as Club Factory and Shein were also banned last month. The Ministry had handed over a list of 79 questions to these apps, which were to be answered by them within a period of three weeks. Failure to do so will lead to their permanent ban, it added.
On 21 July 2020, the Government told these apps to maintain strict compliance with the orders regarding the ban. It warned that any violation on part of the application companies would attract serious action against them.
The Union IT Ministry said that if the companies would indulge in any unscrupulous activity, such as continued availability and operation of the banned apps in India, directly or indirectly, it would constitute an offense under various laws, such as the Information Technology Act, that could attract penal provisions.
According to some reports, 250 other apps are also under consideration by the concerned Ministry for similar move to be taken against them. These apps include the popular PUBG Mobile gaming application owned by Tancent. A report by The Economic Times said, “Temcemt backed PUBG, Alibaba- owned Ali Express, phone maker Xiaomi, music streaming app Reso, owned by ByteDance among others are a part of the list 0oof apps that could be banned by the government.”
The Ministry banned the apps, exercising its powers under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act and the provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009.
The move came amid rising tensions between the neighboring countries India and China over a border face-off in Galwan Valley located in the Union Territory of Ladakh. Last month, 20 Indian troops were martyred in a border clash in the valley, and an unknown number, probably higher, of casualties, took place on the Chinese side.