The COVID-19 pandemic currently ravaging the world allegedly originated from China. The country is facing flak from many quarters for not having dealt with the outbreak more systematically and failing to stop its spread. While the world battles the pandemic, China’s activities in foreign lands have started raised further problems for several countries. The geo-political situation between India and China has also turned hostile as the two countries clash on border issues.
The Indian government took a major decision on 29 June 2020 between India and China in the dispute over the LAC. The centre has banned 59 mobile apps in the country including TikTok, Shareit and WeChat. The government has termed all these apps as to India’s sovereignty, integrity and security. Chinese apps are prolific, spanning diverse segments and having a vast consumer base. From financial services to entertainment, gaming, and communication, these apps have penetrated many markets. Therefore, the government ban brings up a great opportunity for Indian start-ups to develop similar or better alternatives and draw erstwhile Chinese app users to their fold.
TikTok is one of the most downloaded apps in India and with over 100 million users. TikTok has said that it has been asked to meet the authorities worried and acquiesce explanation. Chinese companies such as TikTok-owner ByteDance have been inquired by the Union government to response 77 questions about their apps that have been barred, including whether they bowdlerized content, worked on behalf of foreign governments or petitioned influencers. Even though the app is still accessible on the phones of prevailing users, new users, are incapable to admittance it. Further, the Ministry of Information and Technology is in talks with the Department of Communications to operationalize the geo-block. Central government’s Information Technology Ministry has given the companies three weeks to answer to the questions, which has been understood by Reuters, and said unnamed follow-up action would be taken, two sources said. The Union Government last month barred the apps following a border clatter among armed forces from the two countries, which left 20 Indian militias dead. It has said the apps pose a threat to its “dominion and honesty”. China has criticised the prohibition. The government also asked the app companies whether they had confronted any inquiry in the United States, European Union or somewhere else for secretly collecting handler data.
THE REASON BEHIND BANNING THE CHINESE APPS: –
These measures have been undertaken since there is credible information that these apps are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order. The decision has been taken in a bid to safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile users. “There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country,” said the government.
The ban on these apps will create a positive impact on the Indian start-ups. It will make India more dependent on itself. This step also reduced India’s dependence and now Indian start-ups and established companies will also benefit in gaining user base. Even, many Indians have been demanding a ban on Tik Tok for a long time because weak content moderation and the vulgar content shown on the platform was having a bad impact on children and adolescents.
The decision of banning these apps is going to hurt China’s ambition of becoming digitally powerful. The decision on banning these apps has given China a clear message that India is no longer a victim of China’s nibble and negotiate policy and will review the criteria of engagement.
CHINA’S RESPONSE TO THIS ACTION: –
China has said that it suspects India’s actions could be in violation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. In a statement, the Chinese Embassy in New Delhi said, “India’s measure selectively and discriminatorily aims at certain Chinese apps on ambiguous and far-fetched grounds, runs against fair and transparent procedure requirements, abuses national security exceptions, and [is suspected] of violating the WTO rules. It also goes against the general trend of international trade and e-commerce, and is not conducive to consumer interests and the market competition in India.”
CAN THE ORDER BE CHALLENGED?
Though it is unlikely that the companies concerned may take such a step immediately, either they or any affected individual in India could challenge the blocking orders in court. The courts will decide that whether the government has allegedly provided an adequate explanation in contrary to this or whether the reasons such as national security and the protection of strategic interests have been added or not by the government. And the court will also consider that the ban is proportionate and necessary step that has been taken given the fact.
The step taken by the Indian government has aroused confidence among many citizens that if other countries doesn’t respect India, or try to harm the country or its citizens, they know how to answer them properly. As recently China got for the betrayal of trust. France and the USA has supported this step taken by the Indian Government. Although it is supported at the world level.
But this step is a positive step towards making India “Aatmnirbhar” and making the Indian start-ups grow in a positive way.
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