America is the next India

India bans Tiktok - it is the next escalation in the border conflict with China

India bans Tiktok and 58 other Chinese apps. The military conflict is now also becoming an economic one.

On Tuesday morning, Tiktok could no longer be found in the Indian App Store and on Google Play. The Indian government banned the video platform along with 58 other Chinese applications. One wants to protect the "security and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace", it said in a communication from the government. The Tiktok app had gained numerous users in India in recent years, and today it is over 100 million. It is particularly popular among young people who share short videos on the platform.

In its communication, the Indian government avoided speaking of “Chinese” apps, nor did it explain why it now sees the security of Indian cyberspace in jeopardy. But the background is obvious. It's been a good two weeks since the border conflict with China escalated after twenty Indian soldiers were killed in Ladakh. Shortly afterwards, voices in India calling for a boycott of Chinese products increased. In Delhi, traders burned Chinese goods; in Ahmedabad, in the west of the country, people threw Chinese televisions out of the windows.

Clear affront to the neighbor

The Indian government has been more subtle so far. Online retailers like Amazon have been encouraged to re-declare the origin of their products - many of which come from China. According to information from the Reuters news agency, the government also wants to do without Chinese companies when expanding the telecommunications network - that would be a blow for Huawei and ZTE. Equipping India with 4G and 5G antennas is a billion dollar business for them.

Tiktok has announced that it will meet with Indian government officials on Tuesday to clarify the matter. This is not the first time that the company has been defending itself against allegations that it is sharing data with the Chinese state; The app was already banned once in India. Last year it was said that she was exposing children to pornographic content. The ban lasted two weeks. This time it could last longer.

The border conflict continues to smolder

Tiktok is a good example of how complicated the connections between China and India are. When Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for donations to benefit his PM Cares fund at the beginning of the corona lockdown, Tiktok paid around $ 4 million. Other Chinese companies like Huawei also donated. The Tiktok parent company ByteDance employs several thousand people in India and wants to create 10,000 new jobs. Breaking such ties is likely to be more complicated than simply casting a ban.

The conflict along the Line of Actual Control (LAC), the controversial Sino-Indian border, continues to smolder. A conversation between the two foreign ministers last week was unsuccessful; Russia had offered to act as a mediator.

On Tuesday, senior Indian and Chinese officers met for the third time to de-escalate the situation. However, an army representative told the Indian Express newspaper that there was a lack of trust between the Chinese and Indians. China continues to build its infrastructure along the LAC, including in the Galwan Valley, where the conflict escalated in mid-June. There were also several Chinese border crossings.

The newspaper writes that India has moved additional soldiers to Ladakh.