GANAPATHI BHAT, AKOLA
Generally, a tiff between two countries is both physical and psychological. A hostile country, it is said, has to be hit where it hurts the most. That China is a giant in the field of mobile applications needs no reiteration. Millions of Indian users were literally addicted to a plethora of Chinese applications. But the Centre has cracked down on the Chinese apps. In what is termed as a ‘digital strike’, the government has banned more than 200 apps, 224 to be precise, of Chinese origin and ownership in a phased manner including the extremely popular PlayerUnknown’s Battleground (PUBG), owned by the Chinese firm Tencent. Alongside, FaceU, Ludo, All Star, ZakZak find themselves out of the Indian market. Make no mistake, an app like PUBG had over 50 million users in India, with more than 175 million downloads. No doubt, users have lost some money in the ‘battle game’. But that is no great deal compared to the all-important exigency of sending a strong message to Beijing without actually being involved in a battle. The affected people can always raise a dispute with the appropriate authority to get their due back. The sneaky nature of the app and its threat to India’s sovereignty, defence, security and state order have been cited as the broad reasons for prohibiting the app from operating in India. A rattled Beijing has decried New Delhi’s shortsightedness. Already, potential Chinese investors have reportedly backed off from pumping money into India, a sure sign of success of the move. India would not have enforced such drastic measures without foreseeing its impact. New Delhi has killed two birds with one stone. Apart from surprising China, New Delhi wishes to boost indigenous apps in its Atmanirbhar Bharat endeavour. Indian investors will be buoyed by the vast opportunities that lie ahead of them.