Indian authorities have ordered all troops deployed on Sino-Indian borders to avoid using Chinese apps on their smartphones, marking the country’s latest attempt to ban Chinese products due to so-called security concerns.
According to a report released by The Pioneer, an Indian news portal, on Nov. 29, India’s Defense Ministry has directed all troops deployed on the Actual Line of Control facing China to delete over 40 Chinese apps from their handsets, including BeautyPlus, a popular image-enhancing app that is used by over 500 million users outside China. The Indian authorities noted that the move aims to prevent China from tracking and monitoring the location of troops using these apps via smartphones.
It follows an earlier directive through which the Ministry had asked the troops of all the three services to avoid using social network sites, as it can give away their place of deployment.
This is not the first time that Indian military forces have panicked over alleged “Chinese espionage.” Earlier in August, the Indian government asked several Chinese phone makers to furnish compliance reports out of fear that Chinese companies might be stealing users’ personal information, despite the fact that Chinese mobile phone manufacturers’ market share in India was over 50 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
In addition to high-tech equipment made in China, even animals from China can get on Indian authorities’ nerves. In May, a pigeon with a tag bearing numbers written in Chinese threw Indian authorities into a flutter, as fears spread that the feathered prisoner could be a Chinese spy.
Such seizures have been ridiculed across Chinese social and traditional media. Many have suggested that, instead of harming the interests of the Indian public, Indian authorities should first deal with their groundless suspicion and hostility towards China.
“Despite its large population and territory, India remains a country without a shred of security. Maybe it should start to trust its neighbors, rather than making groundless accusations,” wrote an internet user on Sina Weibo.