Indian move to ban 118 more Chinese apps is to deflect domestic failures: expert

Source: Global Times Published: 2020/9/2 22:04:16

Illustration: GT

The Indian government's latest move on Wednesday to ban 118 Chinese mobile apps is another provocative maneuver against China amid renewed tensions on the border, and an ill-intentioned attempt to deflect public attention away from its failure to contain a ravaging COVID-19 outbreak and a contracting economy, a Chinese expert said. 

India's ministry of information and technology announced that it would ban a total of 118 Chinese apps, claiming that the apps were "prejudicial" to the country's sovereignty, integrity and defense, the Hindustan Times reported. New Delhi has already banned 59 Chinese apps including the popular TikTok and WeChat. 

Apart from saying that the ministry received several complaints about "misuse" of some mobile apps, the report did not provide any evidence as to how the apps were harmful to the country. Among the banned apps is the widely popular mobile game app PUBG, which is owned by Tencent and reportedly has 33 million active users in India.

The latest move came as India was again stirring up border tensions with China in the Galwan Valley, and it followed an earlier decision in June to ban 59 Chinese mobile apps, including ByteDance's TikTok and Alibaba's UC Browser.

The move also comes as India, the most populous country in South Asia, continues to be ravaged by the COVID-19 epidemic that has been crippling the economy, and thus the move is a calculated provocative move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to hide its domestic failures, said Zhao Gancheng, director of the Center for Asia-Pacific Studies at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies.

"India's adventurism and opportunism stands out in particular," Zhao told the Global Times on Wednesday, adding that with its economy deteriorating rapidly and the epidemic worsening there, India is facing the risk of a "collapse," which could mean the downfall of Modi's administration.

India has seen one of the world's worst outbreaks of COVID-19, with over 3.77 million cases and more than 66,000 deaths as of Wednesday, and the number of new cases is surging each day.

India's GDP, which had been among the fastest-growing in the world, saw a record contraction of 23.9 percent year-on-year in the quarter through June, according to Indian government data released on Monday.

Zhao said that while the apps ban will likely have a limited impact on the Indian economy, the ill intentions behind the Indian government's move to stir up tension and even a conflict with China are increasingly reaching a dangerous level.

"This is dangerous. The worse the Indian economy becomes, the higher the probability that a military conflict could be provoked by New Delhi. This is a very worrisome situation," Zhao said.

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