China’s commerce ministry said it strongly opposed India’s ban on the Chinese mobile apps. Ministry spokesman Gao Feng was quoted as saying by state-run CGTN that the ban “not only damages the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese investors and service providers, but also harms the interests of Indian consumers and the investment environment of India as an open economy”.
Gao also said that India has “abused the concept of ‘national security’ and adopted discriminatory restrictive measures against Chinese companies, violating relevant WTO rules”.
The spokesperson further said that the Chinese government has always asked its companies to comply with international rules and local laws and regulations in their operations overseas.
“We hope that the Indian side will work with the Chinese side to maintain hard-won bilateral cooperation and development so as to build an open and fair business environment for international investors and services providers including Chinese companies,” Gao was quoted as saying by state-run Global Times.
India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had on Wednesday banned 118 more apps in addition to the ones banned earlier, saying the “decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace”.
In a press release, the ministry had said that it received many complaints from various sources, including several reports, about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India.
India and China have accused each other of attempting to change the status quo in Ladakh this week. The Ministry of External Affairs said the Chinese side engaged in “provocative military manoeuvres” in the late night of 29 and 30 August in an attempt to change the status quo in the South Bank area of Pangong Lake. Chinese troops engaged in provocative action on 31 August too while both the sides were engaged in discussions to de-escalate the situation, it added.
India had in June banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, CamScanner and UC Browser, citing security concerns. It later banned 47 more apps, which were clones of the 59 apps.
The decision to ban the 59 Chinese apps had come after the violent face-off in Galwan between Indian and Chinese troops on 15 June which resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers.
Chinese media reacts
China’s Global Times quoted an expert as saying that India’s move to ban 118 more Chinese apps is an “ill-intentioned attempt” to deflect public attention away from government’s failure to contain Covid-19 and a contracting economy.
The move also comes as India continues to be ravaged by Covid-19 that has been crippling the economy, and thus the move is a calculated provocative move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government to hide its domestic failures, the report quoted Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, as saying.