WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has welcomed India’s ban on 59 Chinese apps, saying the “clean app” policy will promote India’s national security against the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) spying on the country.
“We welcome India’s ban on certain mobile apps that can serve as appendages of the CCP’s surveillance state. India’s ‘clean app’ approach will boost India’s sovereignty, will also boost India’s integrity and national security as the Indian government itself has stated,” he said while briefing reporters in Washington on Tuesday.
India’s Electronics and Information Technology Ministry has banned the 59 Chinese apps, including the popular TikTok video app, saying they opened the way for “elements hostile to national security and defence” to exploit them to “ultimately impinges upon the sovereignty and integrity of India”.
Pompeo also praised the action by Ajit Pai, the head of the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC), against two Chinese technology companies.
“I applaud FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s for designating Huawei and ZTE as national security risks,” he said.
The US has campaigned for India and other countries to ban Huawei telecom equipment because the company under Chinese law could be made to spy on countries using them.
India has stopped the telecommunication company from using Chinese equipment.
Before Pompeo’s briefing, the US government issued a notice cautioning US companies against using equipment made in the Chinese province of Xinjiang or providing surveillance equipment citing what it said were human rights abuse there, including the use of forced labour.
Pompeo said, “CEO’s should read this notice carefully and be aware of the reputation and economic and legal risks of supporting such assaults on human dignity.”
While the administration of President Donald Trump, which is fighting Chinese espionage and interference on many fronts, would want to ban Chinese apps, it would have severe legal barriers unlike in India.
(Arul Louis can be reached at email@example.com and followed on Twitter at @arulouis)