New Delhi: In yet another surgical strike on malicious Chinese apps, the Indian government on Wednesday banned 118 apps over national security concerns, including the immensely popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) Mobile, Baidu and couple of virtual private networks (VPNs) that allowed access to TikTok that was earlier banned.
The action came after the fresh Chinese incursion attempts in Indian territory at Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh.
“This move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users. This decision is a targeted move to ensure safety, security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace,” the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) said in a statement.
The PUBG game, which has more than 600 million downloads and 50 million active players globally, has millions of users, especially young, in India.
PUBG was not banned in India earlier as it is not entirely Chinese. The game has been created and managed by Bluehole which is a South Korean organization.
The ministry said that it has decided to block 118 mobile apps in view of information available that “they are engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order”.
The ministry 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 unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India.
In July, the government barred 47 Chinese apps from operating in the country, which were largely clones of the previously 59 apps banned in June.