Beijing on Tuesday said it was “strongly concerned” about New Delhi’s decision to ban 59, mostly Chinese, mobile applications such as TikTok, UC Browser and WeChat, stressed on cooperation between the two countries and underlined that the ban would go against “India’s interests”.
The information technology ministry did not underline the Chinese links of the 59 mobile apps but government officials didn’t leave anyone in doubt. The ban was fast-tracked by Home Minister Amit Shah after the June 15 violent confrontation between soldiers of India and China at eastern Ladakh’s Galwan valley that spiralled tensions between the two neighbours.
The official announcement only said the 59 applications were prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order. “This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users,” the Indian IT ministry statement on Monday evening said.“China is strongly concerned about the relevant notice issued by the Indian side. We are checking on and verifying the situation,” Zhao Lijian said at the regular ministry briefing on Tuesday.
“I want to stress that the Chinese government always asks the Chinese businesses to abide by international rules, local laws and regulations in their business cooperation with foreign countries,” he said.
Zhao also went on to remind New Delhi of its responsibilities towards foreign companies.“The Indian government has the responsibility to uphold the legitimate and legal rights of the international investors including the Chinese ones,” he said.
“The practical cooperation between China and India is actually mutually beneficial and win-win,” he said
Zhao added: “Such a pattern has been artificially undermined and it is not in the interest of the Indian side”.
The decision by New Delhi to ban Chinese apps comes days after popular Chinese social media app WeChat – also banned by India – removed updates by the Embassy of India (EoI) on the current border conflict including Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement on the clash that left 20 Indian Army soldiers dead. The reasons given for the removal of the posts include divulging state secrets and endangering national security.
The updates published on WeChat included Modi’s remarks on the India-China border situation, the phone call between the Indian and Chinese foreign ministers held earlier this month and a statement by the external affairs ministry’s (MEA) spokesperson on the border situation.
India’s decision to ban the China-linked apps and encourage people to use Indian applications is a continuing effort to reduce dependence on its neighbor’s products and hampers efforts by China’s largest corporations to expand beyond their own borders