Amid escalating border tensions with China, India’s government has banned nearly 60 Chinese mobile apps, including popular video-sharing app TikTok, citing national security concerns, after their militaries clashed earlier this month.
"This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace," announced the Indian Ministry of Electronics and IT.
Among the apps that have banned are Tik Tok, SHarit, Kwai, UC Browser, Baidu map, Shein, clash of Kings, DU battery saver, Helo, Likee, YouCam makeup, Mi Community, CM Browsers, Virus Cleaner, Apus Browser, among others.
The move comes after a deadly clash between the Chinese and Indian militaries along their shared, disputed border earlier this month. The fighting left 20 Indians dead and an unknown number of Chinese casualties.
The mobile apps on Android and iOS platforms were “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India,” the ministry statement read.
TikTok, which reported it had 120 million active Indian users per month in June 2019, indicated they would comply with the Indian government order.
“The government of India has issued an interim order for the blocking of 59 apps, including TikTok and we are in the process of complying with it,” TikTok India head Nikhil Gandhi said in a public statement.
“TikTok continues to comply with all data privacy and security requirements under Indian law and have not shared any information of our users in India with any foreign government, including the Chinese Government. Further, if we are requested to in the future, we could not do so. We place the highest importance on user privacy and integrity”, Gandhi added.