India’s ban on 59 Chinese applications will boost its sovereignty, integrity and national security, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday, welcoming the move which came amid a stand-off between India and China in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley.
“We welcome India’s ban on certain mobile apps that serves as an appendage of the CCP’s (Chinese Communist Party) surveillance State,” Mr Pompeo told reporters at a news conference held at the Foggy Bottom headquarters of the State Department.
“India’s clean app approach will boost India’s sovereignty. It will also boost India’s integrity and national security,” he was quoted by news agency PTI as saying.
The mobile applications that have been banned included hugely popular TikTok, WeChat and UC Browser, amid a huge economic backlash against China following the June 15 clashes at Ladakh in which 20 Indian soldiers died for the country.
The government said the apps were blocked “in view of information available they are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”
Reacting to the ban, China said India’s move was discriminatory and selective to target only Chinese apps.
“India’s measure, selectively and discriminatorily aims at certain Chinese apps on ambiguous and far-fetched grounds, runs against fair and transparent procedure requirements, abuses national security exceptions, and suspects of violating the WTO rules,” Chinese Embassy spokesperson Ji Rong had said.
The US, which has been engaged in bitter exchanges with Chine for months, first over trade war then over coronavirus, is itself facing demands from lawmakers to ban Chinese apps, chiefly TikTok, the viral video mobile application which is widely popular in India as well.
After India’s move, Republican Congressman Rick Crawford had tweeted that “TikTok must go and it should have been gone yesterday.”
Last week, US National Security Advisor, Robert O’Brien had said that the Chinese Government is using TikTok for its own purposes.
TikTok, which had millions of users in India, on Tuesday said it was complying with the government order. “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,” it said in a statement.