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India Retaliates: Zeroed Down To Mobile Applications

While one has to wait to understand the accurate implication of the ban as well as speculate reprisal from the opponents, the sweeping effort will definitely be a warning for bigger Chinese enterprises, besides raising alarm in Beijing.

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The ban on Chinese apps comes as a big blow on China’s market. As the first salvo against China, post the bloody clash at Galwan valley on June 15, India has a lot to cherish. In the guise of protecting the sovereignty and integrity of India, the target has been to cause massive damage on the Chinese economy. Relying on inputs from intelligence agencies that have seen visible traits of compromising on users' privacy, the action is a welcome move. There has been an up soaring demand of banning Chinese applications since the heightened tensions at the border and aligning the move with the aspirations of millions of Indians provide the much-required political boost.

Speculations have been underway to retaliate on China zeroing down on its technological applications. Undeniably, the popular Chinese apps had been hurting sentiments of domestic producers who breathe with sigh post the announcement. Losing on Indian consumers on apps like Tiktok and Likee would leave a deep dent on Chinese revenue. The government aims at mandatory data storage within the country and the ban will facilitate mulling such an idea. Stealing and transmitting unduly unauthorized user data to servers located outside India hereafter can be prevented to a great extent.

The notification is expected to be followed by instructions from ISPs to disable these applications. Users are likely to see a quick message that access to the applications has been restricted at the request of the government. However, while this will affect apps like TikTok and UC News that require live streaming for any purpose, users can still continue to use scripts that don't require an active internet connection to use. But more downloads of these apps, like CamScanner, are likely to close on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

In what is assumed to be a befitting response to the misadventures of Beijing, substantive measures ahead are awaited. The government’s extremely resolved dexterity to hit China on multiple fronts have been well proven. While the standoff remains on the ground, the digital counter strike has perhaps begun. The way China does not permit operations of businesses from outside their territory, India has absolved on such tactics to pressurize through varied mediums. Notably, the ban of these many apps is sure to hinder China’s digital expeditions gnawing up on its ambitions of the Digital Silk route in near future. India in its current move has strategically aimed on hitting China’s extravagant growth and prosperity on the technological front.

Nevertheless, such an action is not here to ensure that Chinese troops will backpedal from the Galwan valley that has been occupied. There are big pocket brands like PayTM, OYO, Swiggy, Zomato, BigBasket amongst others who work on heavy investments from China. The anticipation of a counter-attack from China shall not be futile given the present circumstances. While pummelling on the low-hanging fruit might not yield much of a practical solution, nonetheless, the emotions of millions of Indians have been marshalled hereof. India has learnt lessons from the previous ventures of Beijing and have rightly thronged at it this time.

China brought the entire world at its knees with the spur of an unknown virus since the end of 2019. Previously hit by India’s revised FDI policy and now the embargo on Chinese apps shall not conceivably go in vain. While hurting the Chinese sentiments shall be directly consequent to the move, keeping in mind the immense popularity of many such applications, Indian users shall be left behind looking for coherent alternatives. Many such platforms having Indian creators, that being the only source of income could put thousands of jobs at stake. While one has to wait to understand the accurate implication of the ban as well as speculate reprisal from the opponents, the sweeping effort will definitely be a warning for bigger Chinese enterprises, besides raising alarm in Beijing. Till then Indians can revere the small victory and hold-up for the next to come.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.


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Sonam Chandwani

The author is the Managing Partner at KS Legal & Associates and heads the firm's Corporate Litigation Practice. She specializes in commercial structures, commercial litigation, mergers & acquisitions generally, with an emphasis on large scale and complex commercial litigation including contract law, trade practices, real estate disputes and finance issues across a range of industry sectors.

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