The Indian government issued an unprecedented ban on 59 Chinese-owned apps on Monday, June 29. The sweeping decision concerns social media platforms like TikTok, WeChat, and Weibo, and other applications like DU battery saver or Baidu Translate.
The move comes just weeks after Chinese and Indian troops clashed in the Galwan Valley on June 15 and 16, leaving at least 20 Indian soldiers killed and 76 injured. So, why is TikTok banned in India?
Why is TikTok banned in India?
The Ministry of Electronics & IT published a new statement announcing that Indian citizens will no longer be able to use TikTok either on mobile or non-mobile Internet-enabled devices on Monday, June 29.
"[The apps] are engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order," reads the statement.
"There have been raging concerns on aspects relating to data security and safeguarding the privacy of 130 crore Indians. It has been noted recently that such concerns also pose a threat to sovereignty and security of our country," the Ministry of Electronics & IT claims.
The step was made in a bid to counter potential data breaches and to protect the privacy of Indian citizens.
"The Ministry of Information Technology has received many complaints from various sources including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorized manner to servers which have locations outside India," the statement reads.
"The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures," the statement holds.
Apps affected by the decision include ROMWE, Club Factory, Parallel Space, Mi Video Call Xiaomi, among numerous others.
However, as a few eagle-eyed Twitter users revealed, TikTok is still available in the country. The official statement by the Ministry of Electronics & IT provides no details on when the ban will become effective.
The unprecedented move came just weeks after China sent martial artists and mountain climbers to the Ladakh region. According to Aljazeera, Indian and Chinese fighters entered into an hours-long fight involving stones and nail-studded clubs. It was the deadliest clash to take place in the region in the past 45 years, the outlet reveals.
The Indian government had already imposed a ban on TikTok in April 2019.
According to CNN Business, the Indian government forced the removal of the app from GooglePlay and App Store over mounting concerns about the distribution of inappropriate content in April 2019.
The Madras High Court imposed the ruling on April 3, 2019. According to CNN Business, the decision was fueled by growing fears over the possibility of exposing children to sexual predators, pornographic content, and cyber-bullying.
The decision was swiftly reversed following an appeal made by ByteDance, the Beijing-based company that owns TikTok, as per The Verge.
Unlike the newly imposed ban preventing TikTokers from using the platform either on mobile or non-mobile devices, the few-week-long restriction focused on preventing Indian citizens from downloading the app.