Trinamool Congress MP Nusrat Jahan underscored on Wednesday that TikTok, one among 59 Chinese-linked apps banned by the Centre earlier this week, is an entertainment app, questioning what’s the government’s “strategic plan” going forward.
The Centre’s decision to ban the apps follows June 15 violent scrap between Indian and Chinese soldiers in Ladakh’s Galwan valley. Twenty Indian soldiers died in that clash.
“TikTok is an entertainment app. It’s an impulsive decision. What’s the strategic plan? What about people who will be unemployed? People will suffer like demonetisation. I don’t have any problem with the ban as it is for national security but who’ll answer these questions,” Nusrat Jahan said during an event at Iskcon in Kolkata today, news agency ANI reported.
TikTok, according to Bloomberg data, had nearly 200 million users in India as of January this year and had become one of the most prominent social media tools used by young Indians.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today said the ban on Chinese mobile apps is a great opportunity to help Indians come up with good apps of their own and end foreign dependence for such things.
“In the wake of the ban which we have imposed…I think it is a great opportunity. Can we come up with good apps made by Indians? Let the dependence on foreign apps, with their own agenda for a variety of reasons, stop,” said the IT and telecom minister.
The government said these applications were “engaged in activities prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, security of state and public order”.
The Basirhat MP’s comments come on a day when the CEO of TikTok Kevin Mayer wrote to employees in India that “our platform has encountered an unfortunate challenge in India. However, we stay resolved and committed to our mission, and are working with stakeholders to address their concerns”.
CEO Mayer further underlined that TikTok is popular among users in remote cities, towns and villages across India.
Actions by the Indian authorities could lead to retaliatory measures by Chinese counterparts.
Indian IT companies have been eyeing the Chinese market as part of their strategy to reduce dependence on tapping the Chinese market to the US and UK, which together make up over 70% of Indian IT exports.
Beijing on Tuesday said it was “strongly concerned” about New Delhi’s decision to ban Chinese mobile applications. It stressed on cooperation between the two countries and underlined that the ban would go against “India’s interests”.
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