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India's Decision to Ban Apps Based on 'National Security Excuse', Violates WTO Rules, Says China

File photo of India and China

File photo of India and China

India banned 43 of the apps including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's e-commerce app Aliexpress, in a new wave of web sanctions

China resolutely opposed India's measures to ban more Chinese mobile applications over national security concerns, its embassy in the South Asian nation said on Wednesday.

"We firmly oppose the Indian side’s repeated use of 'national security' as an excuse to prohibit some Mobile APPs with a Chinese background. The Chinese government has always required overseas Chinese companies to abide by international rules, operate in compliance with laws and regulations, and conform to public order and good morals," the Chinese counterpart said in response.

We hope the Indian side provides a fair, impartial, and non-discriminatory business environment for all market players from various countries including China, and rectify the discriminatory practices violating WTO rules, it added.

China and India are opportunities for development to each other rather than threats. Both sides should bring bilateral economic and trade relations back to the right path for mutual benefit and win-win results on the basis of dialogue and negotiation, it further mentioned.

Asked for his reaction to the latest ban, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told a media briefing in Beijing that China expresses serious concern over India's move.

"Since June this year four times India has imposed restrictions on smart phone apps that have Chinese backgrounds under the pretext of national security," he said. "This behaviour violates market principles and World Trade Organisation rules, severely undermines the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies. China firmly rejects it."

Zhao said Chinese government always asks its companies to abide by international rules and local laws and regulations when doing business overseas. Following the market principles, the Indian government has the responsibility to protect their lawful rights and interests of international investors, including Chinese companies, he said.

He said the nature of China India economic and trade cooperation is mutually beneficial. "We urge the Indian side to immediately correct its discriminatory behaviour and avoid further damage to bilateral cooperation, he said.

India banned 43 of the apps on Tuesday, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd's e-commerce app Aliexpress, in a new wave of web sanctions targeting China after the neighbour's months-long standoff on their Himalayan border.

The apps included in the latest app ban include AliSuppliers Mobile App, Alibaba Workbench, AliExpress - Smarter Shopping, Better Living, Alipay Cashier, CamCard - Business Card Reader, CamCard - BCR (Western), DingTalk and more. This means that now a total of 267 Chinese owned apps are banned in India, and the complete list includes popular apps such as TikTok, PUBG Mobile, Shareit, UC Browser, WeChat and CamScanner, to name a few.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) of the Government of India has issued an order under section 69A of the Information Technology Act, with action taken based on the inputs regarding these apps for engaging in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order—the government says in the order.

first published:November 25, 2020, 11:55 IST