India has now banned more than 200 mostly Chinese mobile apps, citing the apps' collection of user data as a national security risk.
The 118 apps “engaged in activities which [are] prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state, and public order,” the ministry said.
Among the banned apps are two apps by Chinese search giant Baidu; online payment app Alipay and shopping app Mobile Taobao, both developed by Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba; a news app by Chinese technology firm Sina; video conferencing app VooV Meeting by Chinese tech giant Tencent; and an e-commerce app called ShareSave developed by Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi.
Many more on the list are mobile games developed by Chinese tech giants or companies owned by them, including Arena of Valor and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (owned by Tencent), and Cyber Hunter (developed by NetEase).
The ministry said it had received “credible inputs” that these apps “collect and share data in a surreptitious manner and compromise personal data and information of users,” based on certain embedded functions within these apps, user permission requests, and information shared on these apps.
The ban was issued after a strong call by the public sector as well as concerns expressed by Indian officials across the political spectrum, according to the ministry.
“This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security, and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace,” the ministry stated.
China’s hawkish state-run Global Times reacted angrily to the latest Indian ban. In an article published on Sept. 2, it accused India of “ill intentions” behind the move in order to stir up tension between the two countries.
“We’re doing it in terms of outsized demands to claim sovereign territory, whether it’s in the Galwan Valley of India on the India–Chinese border, or whether it’s in the South Pacific,” Biegun said.
The Trump administration has sought to address threats posed by Chinese apps.
"It is critical that this country not use apps that are made in China, or that can take our data and go to servers in China,” he said.