In a continued crackdown against China, the Narendra Modi-led Union government on Wednesday also banned 118 additional Chinese apps including popular online gaming platform PUBG in India. The Centre’s latest decision is certain to deal a big blow to the dragon country, which has already raised its objections over India earlier banning close to 60 popular apps that includes TikTok.
The latest decision of the Narendra Modi government is being seen as the next level of a ‘digital strike’ on China, in retaliation to its treacherous attack on the LAC near Galwan Valley in Ladakh in June which left 20 Indian soldiers killed. More Chinese personnel were also believed to have been killed by the brave Indian soldiers who fought valiantly to resist the soldiers of China’s PLA from occupying the Indian territory further.
Significantly, the latest crackdown against 118 more apps comes amid fresh tensions along the LAC where the Indian Army has been asserting its position by re-capturing a few strategic points after foiling PLA’s repeated attempts to intrude and alter the status quo of the undefined border to its advantage.
The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology announced that the mobile game has been banned under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act on the grounds that “they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”
Justifying its decision, the ministry said it had received several complaints from various quarters which includes reports on the misuse of some mobile apps that are available on Android and iOS platforms for ‘stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data’ in an illegitimate way to servers that have locations outside of India. The compilation of this data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures, the ministry said.
Unconfirmed reports suggested that soon after the Centre’s announcement, PUBG and other prohibited Chinese apps have been immediately removed from Google and Apple Playstores. PUBG, while being the most popular online gaming platform for kids and teenagers in India, is also the most hated by many more especially the parents community, who could only helplessly watch their children getting increasingly addicted to it. The gaming app is also squarely blamed for fostering criminal tendencies among children and the youth due to the highly violent nature of the game and content.
Estimates say that more than 70 crore people, mostly the youths, have downloaded this most controversial app in India. While the Centre cited security issues through illegitimate data transfer as the reason, it is also being widely seen as a retaliation for China’s continued aggression on the LAC at various points in Ladakh in the last few months.