The nationalist government of India has banned controversial Chinese social media app TikTok following growing tensions between the two neighboring countries over a territorial dispute.
India took the decision to ban 59 Chinese spyware apps on national security grounds on Tuesday. Other than TikTok, applications produced by Chinese tech giants Baidu, Tencent and Alibaba were also affected.
In a statement, India’s Ministry of Information Technology described the apps as “engaged in activities which is prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order.”
“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 Ministry alleged.
“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 right-wing Indian government under Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken a strong stance against China following China’s recent escalation of a territorial dispute between the two countries. The feud eventually culminated in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army killing 20 Indian soldiers on the border between the two Asian powers.
The Indian government’s decision prompted calls for the U.S. to take a similar approach against TikTok, which recently gained a large user base in the West after nurses widely used the platform as part of a self-promotion scheme during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Retired U.S. Air Force Brigadier General Robert Spalding stated that the United States should “absolutely” follow in India’s footsteps during an appearance on the War Room: Pandemic show on Newsmax TV.
“Not only the apps, not only the social media platform from China, but also many of our media organizations here in the United States have some kind of investment or some kind of financial tie to the Chinese Communist Party,” General Spalding said.
“All of those should be revealed and they should be eliminated because ultimately, what you don’t want is to have a nation that practices political warfare on democracies a part of your media system, which is essentially how they’re getting into our psyche.”