Three days after India blocked 59 Chinese applications, including TikTok, CamScanner, and UCBrowser, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad Thursday described the move as “digital strike” in a bid to protect user data.
“For security and sovereignty of India, for countrymen’s digital security and privacy we have banned 59 apps, including TikTok. India knows how to look in the eyes of those eyeing our borders and to protect countrymen, India can even do a digital strike,” said Prasad as BJP rally in Bengal.
“We are witnessing a strange trend in Bengal; the ruling TMC had earlier asked why we were not banning the apps, now they want to know why we are banning the apps. This is strange, why can’t they stand with the government at the time of crisis,” he added, targetting the TMC leadership in the state.
Amid tension with China following the killing of 20 Indian soldiers in Galwan valley in Ladakh, the government had on Monday announced an interim ban on 59 apps with Chinese links, citing “emergent threats” to the country’s sovereignty and national security.
Two days later, targetting Chinese trade and investments in India, the government on Wednesday said it would not allow Chinese companies to participate in highway projects including those through joint ventures and also not allow Chinese investors in the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
On Wednesday, Prasad said that the country’s dependence on “foreign apps which have all agenda for a variety of reasons must stop.”
“In the wake of the ban which we have imposed … I don’t want to go into the details of it … emergency powers have been exercised and the legal processes have been followed. But I think it is a great opportunity for goods and apps made by Indians,” he had said at a virtual conference to mark five years of the completion of Digital India.
Prasad had also requested Nasscom president Debjani Ghosh and Infosys’ non-executive chairman Nandan Nilekani — who were both present at the conference — to encourage startups and individuals which made such apps.
“There will be encouragement from our side but we also need a helping hand from many others. There is a big scope of public-private partnership, which we will need to finalise in our own way,” Prasad had said.
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