The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) economic wing — Swadeshi Jagran Manch — called China an enemy state and requested a ban on its social media apps and telecom companies after the neighbouring country again declined to help declare Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief a global terrorist.
Swadeshi Jagran Manch’s (SJM) plea came four days after at least 40 CRPF personnel were killed in a suicide attack in Pulwama district of Jammu & Kashmir. In its letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the organisation said it is the duty of all Indians to take steps to prevent the economic gains of any nation or individual that directly or tacitly supports terrorists.
“At such a time, we believe it is imperative that the government create similar hurdles for Chinese companies that are using India for their economic gain,” SJM said in a statement. “As has been said often, data is now considered the new oil. We should not allow Chinese companies to capture Indian user data without any restrictions and monitoring.”
The Indian government’s recent policy proposal to make technology intermediaries more accountable for the content shared on the platform will impact Chinese social media companies that are popular among pre-teen and teen population in the country. Tik Tok, a popular app among teenagers, has around 200 of its 500 million users in India.
SJM said that in the past two years, there has been a proliferation of Chinese social media and ecommerce companies and other applications in India, which have been known to have various security risks. It added that several including TikTok and Helo are known for being an open ground for child pornography and possibly anti-national activities.
“We also need to ensure that Indian start-ups are not hurt by such Chinese companies which are flush with cash and would harm the Indian startup ecosystem, our data sovereignty and, most importantly, our security,” it wrote.
ByteDance, the parent company of TikTok and Helo, said that its apps are committed to respecting local laws and regulations as well as maintaining a safe and positive in-app environment for users in India.
“There is no basis for the factually incorrect claims raised by certain groups recently. We treat the safety and security of our user data very seriously,” it told ET.
SJM said India also needs to curtail the operations of Chinese telecom companies in India, which have already secured many vital and sensitive 4G contracts in India, and its inroads into the 5G sector will increase the security threat manifold. It was referring to Chinese telecom companies Huawei and ZTE.
The economic wing said further imports of Chinese Telecom equipment be banned as part of a comprehensive counter-strategy against Pakistan and its real state supporter — China.
“Only an internally strong country can face the two-front attacks by our two-faced neighbours,” it wrote. “We must stop supporting the companies of an enemy state and take a more comprehensive view of national security, otherwise this will be a recurring problem, as history has shown.”
The economic wing said further imports of Chinese Telecom equipment be banned as part of a comprehensive counter-strategy against Pakistan and its real state supporter —China. “Only an internally strong country can face the two-front attacks by our two-faced neighbours,” it wrote. “We must stop supporting the companies of an enemy state and take a more comprehensive view of national security, otherwise this will be a recurring problem, as history has shown.”