India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has begun a process to ban and block 138 betting apps and 94 loan lending apps with links to China, a state broadcaster said on Sunday.
The Ministry of Home Affairs recommended MeitY ban and block the apps by the coming week under Section 69 of India’s IT law, the report said.
The IT law allows the government to block public access to content in the interest of national security, among other reasons. Orders issued under the section are generally confidential in nature.
The apps are being banned for “misleading customers into taking big debts” and over concerns that they could promote Chinese spying and propaganda, TechCrunch reported.
MeitY and the Ministry of Home Affairs did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The news arm of India’s state broadcaster Prasar Bharati News Services & Digital Platform posted the development on Twitter.
The @GoI_MeitY has started the process to ban & block 138 betting apps and 94 loan lending apps which reportedly have Chinese links on an “urgent” and “emergency” basis. The move came after a communication from Ministry of Home Affairs. pic.twitter.com/6AtLcVqRGR
— Prasar Bharati News Services & Digital Platform (@PBNS_India) February 5, 2023
Since tensions with China ramped up in 2020 following a border clash, India has banned hundreds of popular Chinese apps in the country including TikTok and WeChat Messenger.
India last year blocked access to several China-linked mobile apps, including Sea’s Free Fire and Korean Game BattleGrounds Mobile India, citing security concerns. China responded by expressing concerns over bilateral economic and trade cooperation.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena