Keen to assure its cyber-independence, India has banned a third tranche of Chinese apps from the Indian internet. This week, the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre (I4C) has named an additional 43 Chinese apps to be blocked in India. This comes on top of the 59 apps blocked in June and 118 in September, bring the total number of Chinese apps blocked in India to 220.
The most prominent of the new batch of apps blocked under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act is Alibaba’s online shopping app AliExpress. A slew of other games, dating sites, and Alibaba utilities were also blocked. Apps blocked by the earlier restrictions include TikTok and WeChat.
Although China under Xi Jinping has been exerting pressure on many of its neighbors in recent years, only in India has it resorted to outright military force, initiating a conflict in Ladakh’s Galwan Valley that resulted in the deaths of twenty Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese.
India’s rapid military response stabilized the situation, but its cyber-response is likely to prove more important. India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi set up I4C in 2018 to focus on crimes like hacking, fraud, racial incitement, and child pornography, but has turned it into a powerful tool for foreign affairs.