India bans TikTok after Himalayan border clash with Chinese troops

Government blacklists more than 50 Chinese-made apps, citing ???threat to sovereignty???

TikTok app icon
TikTok has more than 200 million users in India and is the most downloaded app in the country. Photograph: AP
TikTok has more than 200 million users in India and is the most downloaded app in the country. Photograph: AP
South Asia correspondent
Published on Mon 29 Jun 2020 18.48 BST

The Indian government has banned TikTok, the hugely popular social media app, as part of sweeping anti-China measures after a violent confrontation between Indian and Chinese troops.

TikTok is one of more than 50 Chinese-made apps that have been banned by the Ministry of Information over concerns that they ???pose a threat to sovereignty and security??? of India.

While the government notice issuing the ban did not explicitly mention China by name, it is only Chinese-made apps that have been blacklisted. It comes after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in the confrontation with Chinese troops along their disputed Himalayan border.

India has accused China of infringing on national sovereignty by moving thousands of troops and artillery, as well as building infrastructure, into disputed territory in Ladakh. The clash two weeks ago was the worst conflict between India and China in 60 years, and despite pledges on both sides to de-escalate, recent satellite footage appears to show China solidifying their presence along the poorly defined border.

The decision to ban TikTok, an app where people upload short videos, is likely to cause reverberations through India, where it has more than 200 million users and is the most downloaded app in the country. It has become a central part of popular culture in India, with some TikTok celebrities boasting tens of million of followers.

The Indian government said the decision to ban the apps was in order to protect the data and privacy of its 1.3 billion citizens and put a stop to technology that was ???stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users??? data in an unauthorised manner to servers outside India???.

Since the buildup of Chinese troops and violent clash at the border, there have been growing calls for a boycott of Chinese goods and investment.

The government has already announced plans to impose higher trade barriers and raise import duties on about 300 products from China, as well as ban Chinese companies from bidding on telecom projects in India. The Delhi Hotel and Restaurant Owners??? Association, which represents more than 3,000 establishments in the capital, has also recently banned all Chinese nationals from their hotels and restaurants.