The government has blocked 43 more mobile apps, including major Chinese ones citing threats to national security, integrity and sovereignty.
Following escalation of tensions with China at the border, India has blocked over 250 Chinese mobile apps, a bunch at a time, on the grounds that they have been engaging in activities which are prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of the state and public order.
The latest instance of app blocking comes at a time when the two sides have engaged in talks to come up with an agreement for disengagement along the Line of Actual Control.
Advantage to India
In the short run, it may be useful for India to use its vast market for Internet services as leverage in its attempts to keep China in check at the border.
Indian app alternatives may also find the much-needed space to grow now, and initial reports indicate as much.
But there are a few risks with this approach, especially given India’s global ambitions in technology.
This approach runs the risk of triggering an unconventional battle in the larger technology realm. China, being an important player in the technology global supply chain, will be hard to sideline.
There is a risk that moves such as blocking apps would be perceived adversely by global investors and Internet companies.
While it is true that there has been some pushback against Chinese companies and technology globally, India must stick to a rules-based approach to regulating the Internet.
There is a need to implement the long-pending data protection law. It is also important to provide clarity on these issues.