The move comes as tension between the two countries escalated after the Galwan Valley clashes on June 15 that left 20 Indian soldiers dead.
In an official statement, the ministry of information and technology said that it has received many complaints from various sources, including several reports about misuse of some mobile apps available on Android and iOS platforms for “stealing and surreptitiously transmitting users’ data in an unauthorised manner to servers which have locations outside India”.
“The compilation of these data, its mining and profiling by elements hostile to national security and defence of India, which ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India, is a matter of very deep and immediate concern which requires emergency measures,” the statement said.
The ban has been imposed under section 69A of the Information Technology Act and the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules, 2009.
The list of 59 apps include mostly Chinese mobile apps, including the popular TikTok, UC Browser, Shareit, Viva video, WeChat, as well as e-commerce platforms like Club Factory and Shein, among others.
The government decided to disallow these apps based on the representations received from citizens regarding the security of data and risk to privacy related to operation of certain apps along with those received by the Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-IN) regarding breach of privacy impacting public issues. Further, the Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre, ministry of home affairs also sent exhaustive recommendation for blocking these malicious apps, the statement added.
The government further said that the ban will ensure the safety and sovereignty of Indian cyberspace and safeguard the interests of crores of mobile and internet users.
The clash between the two sides led to calls from various sections of the country to boycott Chinese goods and services as a protest against the Chinese intrusion in the Indian territory. There was also an increasing demand from the people to impose a complete ban on Chinese apps.
(With PTI inputs)