India and China have been embroiled in a series of deadly clashes and showdowns on their Himalayan border in recent weeks.
India has banned the widely popular Chinese mobile game PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds, known by the acronym PUBG, along with 117 other mobile apps in another move targeting China.
The decision came amid soaring tensions between India and China following their deadliest standoff in decades near a disputed border in the Ladakh region.
The government said in a statement that PUBG and the other banned mobile applications were engaged in activities that were "prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defense of India, security of state and public order.”
India cites privacy concerns
PUBG has around 33 million active users in India.
Other apps closed down include games, online payment services, dating sites and even software to edit selfies.
PUBG was developed by a South Korean company, but the mobile version that has taken off around the world was developed by Tencent.
The IT Ministry accused the apps of stealing user data.
In late June, the Indian government banned 59 Chinese-owned applications, including TikTok, citing privacy concerns that it said posed a threat to India’s sovereignty and security. The move was seen as retaliation during a tense border standoff between the two countries that led to 20 Indian army personnel being killed on June 15.
A month later, India banned 47 more Chinese mobile applications that cloned the previously restricted apps.
Verbal and physical sparring
Tensions have been high between India and China for months. Each of the Asian giants has accused the other of new provocations, including allegations of soldiers crossing into each other’s territory.
On Monday, India said its soldiers thwarted “provocative” movements by China’s military near a disputed border in Ladakh. In turn, China’s Defence Ministry accused Indian troops of crossing established lines of control and creating provocations on Monday.
The standoff is over disputed portions of a pristine landscape high in the Karakoram mountains that boasts the world’s highest landing strip, a glacier that feeds one of the largest irrigation systems in the world, and is a critical link in China’s massive “Belt and Road” infrastructure project.
Several rounds of military and diplomatic talks on ending the crisis have been unsuccessful.
In June, 20 Indian soldiers were killed in hand-to-hand combat in the Ladakh region of the border.