The Time Press

Sisyphean challenge

On Monday, the government enlarged its list of Chinese apps banned in India. As many as 54 apps, including Sweet Selfie HD, Viva Video Editor, Tencent Xriver, AppLock and Dual Space Lite, can no longer be used. Popular game Garena Free Fire has also been shown the exit, though its developer is reportedly based in Singapore. These join a list of about 200 apps barred earlier, in three separate moves, after a mid-2020 border clash with Chinese troops soured relations.

The ever-expanding ban list suggests a Sisyphean challenge. After all, apps keep sprouting, some of which might well be older apps in new guises trying to sneak onto our smartphones. But for how long will we patrol our virtual borders in a globalized world of app proliferation? Security concerns were cited for this policy, but Indian barriers seem much too indiscriminate in the absence of information in the public domain on specific threats posed by these apps. It’s important for policy credibility that India’s stated reason is supported by intelligence findings. It’s time for clarity on exactly what we are aiming to achieve. The Centre should get a survey done and publish a discussion paper on Chinese apps.

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