The Indian government, after sending Chinese social media app TikTok to the electric chair, has announced the departure of yet another ultra popular smartphone app-PUBG. That’s right, the government has announced that PUBG and 117 other Chinese apps will be banned from India, starting today.
The government has issued this ban under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act, stating that the apps “are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, Defence of India, Security of State and Public Order.”
Official release from the Government said, “The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, Ministry of Home Affairs has also sent an exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps.. Likewise, there have been similar bipartisan concerns, flagged by various public representatives, both outside and inside the Parliament of India. There has been a strong chorus in the public space to take strict action against Apps that harm India’s sovereignty as well as the privacy of our citizens.”
This comes as tension at the Ladakh border have escalated once again, with India and China both deploying tanks and additional troops in Eastern Ladakh. The Indian army has assumed control of the southern bank of the Pangong Tso over the weekend, just as the Chinese troops have done on the northern banks. In short, the situation is tense once again, and India has retaliated on more fronts than one.
This is in line with a similar decision that the government took earlier this year, when it banned TikTok and 58 other Chinese apps after a dispute at the Galwan Valley claimed the lives of 20 Indian soldiers. While the government has not mentioned the current acrimony between the two countries as a driving factor for the ban, it’s fair to assume that the timing is a little more than a mere coincidence.
Among PUBG, several other apps, including WeChat Work & WeChat, and the lite version of PUBG (called PUBG Lite) have also been banned. The government says that the move would safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. The ministry says that it has received many complaints from various sources including multiple reports about several apps transmitting user data in an authorized manner to locations outside of India. Now, seeing at the apps that were banned, it looks like the “several apps” were Chinese, and the “location outside of India” is China.
So long, Chicken Dinner.