India bans 43 more mobile apps as it takes on China

India bans 43 more mobile apps as it takes on China
Millions of Indians have joined homegrown social media platforms after New Delhi earlier banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, amidst a growing showdown between the neighbors. (AFP)
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Updated 25 November 2020

India bans 43 more mobile apps as it takes on China

India bans 43 more mobile apps as it takes on China
  • India has previously banned more than 170 apps, saying they collect and share users’ data and could pose a threat to the state

NEW DELHI: India banned 43 mobile apps on Tuesday, including Alibaba Group Holding’s e-commerce app Aliexpress, in a new wave of web sanctions targeted at China after the neighbors’ months-long standoff on their rugged Himalayan border.
The 43 mostly Chinese-origin applications, which also include a few dating apps, threaten the “sovereignty and integrity of India,” the technology ministry said in a statement.
India has previously banned more than 170 apps, saying they collect and share users’ data and could pose a threat to the state.
The moves, which India’s technology minister has referred to as a “digital strike,” were initiated after 20 Indian soldiers were killed in a skirmish with Chinese troops at a disputed Himalayan border site in June.
The Chinese embassy in India said on Wednesday it “resolutely” opposed the ban. Alibaba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Aliexpress is not a major player in India’s fledgling e-commerce market, which is led by Walmart’s Flipkart and Amazon.com’s local unit. It is, however, popular with some motorcycle enthusiasts and small shopkeepers, who use it to source cheap goods.
The move is another setback for Chinese giant Alibaba, which is the biggest investor in Indian fin-tech firm Paytm and also backs online grocer BigBasket.
Its subsidiary UC Web laid off staff in India earlier this year after New Delhi first banned 59 Chinese-origin mobile apps that included UC Web’s browser and two other products.
The Chinese tech giant was also forced to put on hold its plans to invest in Indian companies following the border tensions between the two nuclear-armed countries, Reuters previously reported.
India’s slew of app bans has also jolted the ambitions of Chinese tech titans such as Bytedance and Tencent in the South Asian country, which is trying to reduce Beijing’s influence on its burgeoning Internet economy.


Amazon Prime show agrees to changes after India Hindu outcry

Amazon Prime show agrees to changes after India Hindu outcry
Updated 21 January 2021

Amazon Prime show agrees to changes after India Hindu outcry

Amazon Prime show agrees to changes after India Hindu outcry
  • The Amazon Prime drama “Tandav” drew criticism from members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party
  • Several BJP politicians called for the show to be banned

MUMBAI: The cast and crew of a popular streaming series starring Bollywood megastar Saif Ali Khan have agreed to “implement changes” to the show after ruling party politicians accused it of insulting Hindu gods.
The Amazon Prime drama “Tandav” — loosely compared to the US series “House of Cards” — drew criticism from members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party after its Friday release.
Several BJP politicians called for the show to be banned, saying it was “deliberately mocking Hindu gods” and disrespecting religious sentiments.
One of the criticized scenes depicts a university play in which Hindu deity Shiva talks about “azaadi” (freedom), a rallying cry from 2019’s anti-government protests across the country.
“The cast and crew of Tandav have made the decision to implement changes to the web series to address the concerns raised,” director Ali Abbas Zafar wrote in a post on Twitter late Tuesday.
The cast and crew also apologized on Monday, with Zafar saying that the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had told the team it had received “a large number of grievances and petitions... with serious concerns and apprehensions” over the series.
“’Tandav’ is a work of fiction and any resemblance to acts and persons and events is purely coincidental,” he said Monday.
The petitioners include Ram Kadam, a BJP lawmaker in Mumbai, who said he was “fighting for Hindu pride and trying to ensure that nobody dare to mock our Hindu Gods.”
Leading streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon and Disney’s Hotstar, have expanded their presence in the country of 1.3 billion, including by commissioning local content.
The streaming TV services are not subject to the country’s notoriously fussy censor boards, which regularly cut scenes.
But there have been growing calls, particularly from BJP politicians, for the shows to be subject to the same scrutiny.
The most recent controversy involved the BBC’s TV version of Vikram Seth’s epic bestselling novel, “A Suitable Boy,” which is streaming on Netflix, over a scene where a Hindu girl kisses a Muslim boy in front of a temple.
A BJP politician in November filed a police complaint saying the show had hurt Hindus’ religious sentiments.