Post the ban of TikTok and 59 other Chinese apps in June, the Electronics and IT Ministry of India has again ordered 118 apps to be banned that are in some way linked back to China. PUBG MOBILE, currently one of the most popular games in India is included in the said list. The Ministry stated their reason for doing this on Wednesday saying that, this has been done in order to strengthen the cybersecurity as geopolitical tension on the Indo-China front has been on a rise.
According to the Ministry, the apps that were banned under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act were, “prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.” The ministry also said that this will help “safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and Internet users. The decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace.”
Ever since the Galwan Valley incident occured in June, India and China have been having an endless stream of attacks and faceoffs in Ladakh. After the most recent provocation in the South Bank of Pangong Lake in Ladakh, Indian government was pushed to make this move as an emergency safety and security measure.
Along with the constant Chinese attacks, several complaints have been submitted to the Ministry in the past few weeks about misconduct and surreptitious transfer of user data by various apps to servers not within India. Hence, this step was crucial if the privacy of Indian netizens was to be protected.
The list of banned apps includes everything from picture editing apps to games to online dating sites. Some of the most popular apps like PUBG, WeChat, Baidu, and VPN for TikTok are part of the banned list. The ban of PUBG in India will have a significant effect on it’s expected growth. PUBG drives in about 13 million players every day and has a user base of 40 million plus users monthly. It has also been ranked in the top 5 smartphone games of the world after striking more than 734 million downloads.
Along with the banning of the apps, a change in the foreign investment policy of India in April has also greatly reduced the presence of Chinese investors in startup deals in India. In August, it was reported that any new investments in the Indian firms have been halted by the Alibaba Group for the coming 6 months.