Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) wrote a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to ban Chinese social media and e-commerce apps and Chinese telecom equipment
Respected Narendra Modi Ji,
The dastardly terrorist attack at Pulwama has shaken the conscience of the nation. At this time, we believe it is the duty of all Indians to take steps to prevent the economic gain of any nation or individual that directly or tacitly supports such terrorists in continuing their activities unabated.
We welcome the various moves made by the Ministry of Finance including the withdrawal of Most Favoured Nation as well the increase in customs duties for all products imported from Pakistan.
It is widely known that the Chinese government continues to block our nation’s attempts to designate the chief architect of these terror attacks as a ‘global terrorist’.
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. 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.
In the past two years there has been a proliferation of Chinese social media and e-commerce companies and other applications in India. These apps have been known to have various security risks. In fact, the Ministry of Defence had in December 2017 asked all armed forces officials to uninstall over 42 applications with Chinese origins that had significant security risks. During the Doklam crisis, the government had also begun investigations into UC Browser sharing the location of Indian users to Chinese servers and Chinese propaganda content to Indian users.
A number of apps including TikTok and Helo have in recent weeks been called out by the media as well as various concerned citizens for having undesirable content. Such apps have been banned in various countries including Indonesia. These apps are known for sharing the details of children and being an open ground for child pornography and possibly anti-national activities. In this regard we believe that the Indian government should take necessary steps that would involve banning such apps.
We also need to ensure that Indian startups are not hurt by such Chinese companies which are flush with cash and would harm the Indian start up ecosystem, our data sovereignty and most importantly our security.
Finally, India needs to curtail the operations of Chinese telecom companies in India, which have already secured many vital and sensitive 4G contracts in India. There is a clear case for enforcing national security provisions in telecommunications. This is what many other countries have done with Chinese Telecom equipment being banned from several important markets. This has increased the Chinese desperation to capture the Indian market. As a recent BSNL tender will show, they have underbid the lowest bid by Rs. 250 crores, which is impossible to achieve unless they have State support.
Chinese companies have also made inroads into the 5G sector in India. The induction of 5G equipment will increase the security threat manifold. It is therefore even more essential that these NextGen networks be set up by Indian companies to ensure national security. This one measure will kick-start creation of many high-tech high-paying jobs in our country and lead to rapid development.
Only an internally strong country can face the two-front attacks by our two-faced neighbours. Swadeshi Jagran Manch has always stood for promoting indigenous capabilities, for national security and national economic security. Swadeshi Jagran Manch therefore requests that further imports of Chinese Telecom equipment be banned as part of a comprehensive counter-strategy against Pakistan and its real State supporter – China. 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.
We look forward to strict action from your office in this regard.
With best regards,
Dr. Ashwani Mahajan
All India Co-convener