India’s digital surgical strike upon Chinese espionage apps has added a new chapter as the Union government spearheaded by PM Narendra Modi on Tuesday banned 43 more Chinese apps and sent another wave of shockwave towards the middle kingdom. Notably, the worst-hit company by the app ban is the Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba led by Jack Ma, who himself has found himself in a pickle with the politburo of Beijing. Other blocked apps include AliSuppliers Mobile App, Alibaba Workbench and Alipay Cashier.
It is imperative to note that the timing of the third round of the Chinese app ban comes at a time when Donald Trump is starting to allow the transition of the Presidency to Joe Biden. Analysts have observed that New Delhi is trying to send a clear message to Biden and China simultaneously, that it wasn’t the support or backing of Donald Trump that gave India the confidence to go ahead and ban the Chinese apps.
It was the Narendra Modi government all along that had been pulling the strings from behind. And that trend is most likely to continue in the coming days, irrespective of who sits in the Oval Office of the White House. Albeit, it can be inferred that it was India’s banning of TikTok, PUBG, and other hundreds of apps that gave courage to the Trump administration to come down on TikTok and We Chat in America.
China, as usual, has been miffed by the decision of the Indian government and is now pleading behind terms such as ‘fair’ and ‘impartiality’—which is a bit rich coming from Beijing as the authoritarian communist regime quashes upon the aforementioned two words whenever they are uttered in the idle kingdom.
“China firmly opposes #Indian side’s repeated use of “national security” as an excuse to prohibit #MobileAPPs with Chinese background. Hope India provides fair, impartial & non-discriminatory biz environ for all market players, & rectify discriminatory practices” the spokesperson of the Chinese Embassy in India tweeted.
#China firmly opposes #Indian side’s repeated use of "national security” as excuse to prohibit #MobileAPPs with Chinese background. Hope India provides fair,impartial&non-discriminatory biz environ for all market players,& rectify discriminatory practices. https://t.co/hPqSHT7NLF pic.twitter.com/zD4FhajYt1
— Ji Rong (@ChinaSpox_India) November 25, 2020
A 2017 Chinese intelligence law requires companies like Alibaba to cooperate with the Chinese government when it comes to spying or matters of national security and therefore the Indian government is not taking any prisoners and effective immediately, weeding out such apps.
“All organizations and citizens shall, in accordance with the law, support, cooperate with, and collaborate in national intelligence work, and guard the secrecy of national intelligence work they are aware of.”Article 6 of China’s 2017 National Intelligence Law states.
It was India’s dogged stance of not allowing any Chinese espionage app or company to operate within the sovereign boundaries of the nation without full vetting that PUBG Corp had to dump its Chinese investor Tencent from the Mobile operations of the game.
After the June 15 incident in the Galwan valley near LAC, the Union Government had meticulously chalked out a plan to counter the growing Chinese influence. While the Army continues to play the long game at the border by wearing out the timid PLA troops, the Union government from New Delhi continues hurting the Chinese investors and companies on the economic front. And because the simmering tension on the border continues, New Delhi and their decision of app-banning cannot be talked down by the world community.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden will have got an indication that it isn’t the old India that he had dealt with in the past—a resurgent India under PM Modi knows how to fight its battles and it does not necessarily need American intervention.