China opposes retention of app ban, says move may damage bilateral cooperation
China on Wednesday opposed India’s decision to retain a ban on 59 Chinese-origin mobile phone applications, saying the move violated WTO’s non-discriminatory principles and had the potential to “further damage” bilateral cooperation.
India’s electronics and IT ministry has informed the Chinese firms that the ban on 59 apps, including TikTok, would be retained following a review of the responses provided by them after the imposition of the ban last year.
The ban was imposed last June on grounds of national security, months after the India-China military standoff in Ladakh sector of the Line of Actual Control (LAC) emerged into the open. India subsequently took steps to ban a total of 267 Chinese-origin apps and to restrict Chinese investments in critical sectors of the economy.
Responding to reports about the retention of the ban on 59 apps, the spokesperson of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi, Ji Rong, contended that India was using national security as an “excuse” to impose restrictions on Chinese firms.
“Since last year, the Indian side has repeatedly used national security as an excuse to prohibit some mobile apps with Chinese background,” she said in a statement.
“These moves in violation of WTO non-discriminatory principles and fair competition principles of market economy severely damage the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies. The Chinese side firmly opposes them,” Ji said.
“We urge the Indian side to immediately correct its discriminatory measures and avoid causing further damage to bilateral cooperation,” she added.
There was no immediate response from Indian officials to the Chinese spokesperson’s comments.
The Chinese government, Ji said, always asks Chinese companies to observe international rules and local laws and regulations when doing business overseas.
“The Indian government has the responsibility to follow WTO rules and market principles and protect the legitimate rights and interests of international investors including Chinese companies,” she said.
“These moves of the Indian government have also hindered the improvement of the Indian business environment and the innovative development of related Indian industries. China-India economic and trade cooperation is mutually beneficial by nature,” she said.
Tens of thousands of Indian and Chinese troops are currently locked in a face-off in the Ladakh sector of the LAC, taking bilateral ties to an all-time low. External affairs minister S Jaishankar has said China’s unilateral efforts to alter the status quo along the LAC have significantly damaged the relationship.
Earlier this month, Indian and Chinese troops were involved in a minor scuffle at Naku La in Sikkim sector of the LAC, resulting in injuries on both sides. The incident highlighted the continuing tensions along the LAC.
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