Indian government on September 2 banned 118 apps, including the popular PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) Mobile, Baidu and several VPNs that allowed access to TikTok that was banned earlier.
The action came after the fresh Chinese incursion attempts in Indian territory at Pangong Tso in eastern Ladakh.
The PUBG game now has more than 600 million downloads and 50 million active players globally, not including the Chinese mainland where a rebranded version of the game is called ‘Game for Peace’.
PUBG has millions of users, especially young, in India.
“The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology 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 unauthorized 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,” a press release stated on September 2.
The ban on PUBG came as it announced the arrival of a new gaming era with its 1.0 version, along with global mobile esports tournament PUBG Mobile Global Championship (PMGC) with a grand prize pool of $2 million (about Rs 15 crore).
Earlier, the government barred 47 Chinese apps from operating in the country, which were largely clones of the previously 59 apps banned in June.
On June 29, the government banned 59 Chinese apps including TikTok, WeChat and UC Browser and Xiaomi’s Mi Community over national security concerns amid the border tussle in Ladakh which led to the death of 20 Indian soldiers in the Galwan Valley clash with Chinese PLA troops.