nikki haley

Members of the Gujarat Rashtriya Rajput Karni Sena organization stamp upon a Chinese TV screen during a protest against vendors selling Chinese products at a market in Ahmedabad on July 1, 2020. In the U.S. Indian American former diplomat Nikki Haley praised India's decision to ban 59 Chinese apps, saying New Delhi "is continuing to show it won’t back down from Chinas aggression.” (Sam Panthaky/AFP via Getty Images)

WASHINGTON – Nikki Haley, the first Indian American official to serve in the U.S. cabinet, has praised India's decision to ban 59 Chinese apps, saying New Delhi "is continuing to show it won’t back down from Chinas aggression.”

Taking to Twitter July 1, Haley, also the former U.S. ambassador to the UN, said: Good to see India ban 59 popular apps owned by Chinese firms, including TikTok, which counts India as one of its largest markets.

"India is continuing to show it won't back down from China's aggression."

Haley's remarks came a day after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo welcomed India's move, saying the "clean app" policy will promote New Delhi's national security against the Chinese Communist Party's 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 June 30.

India's Electronics and Information Technology Ministry has banned 59 Chinese apps, including the popular TikTok video app, saying they opened the way for "elements hostile to national security and defense" 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, against two Chinese technology companies.

"I applaud FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's for designating Huawei and ZTE as national security risks," he said.

The U.S. 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 U.S. government issued a notice cautioning U.S. 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 labor.

Pompeo said, "CEOs 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.

In related news, AP adds from Beijing: China accused India July 2 of improperly disrupting activities by Chinese companies in the midst of tensions over a bloody clash between forces along their disputed border.

China has not taken any retaliatory measures in response to India’s actions and a return to normal is in the best interests of both countries, Commerce Ministry spokesperson Gang Feng told reporters, according to the ministry’s website.

“It is hoped that Indian side will immediately correct the discriminatory practices against China and Chinese enterprises,” Gao said. New Delhi’s moves were in violation of World Trade Organization rules and India’s commitment to global trade’s rules-making body, he said.

On June 29, India said it had banned 59 Chinese-owned apps, including TikTok, while Chinese companies are being blocked from participating in highway projects and are banned from investing in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.

Indian protesters have been calling for a boycott of Chinese goods since the June 15 confrontation along the border.

India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi quit ubiquitous Chinese social media platform Weibo to send a strong message to Beijing on the border issue, economic front and at “personal level too,” the Press Trust of India news agency cited his party leader B.L. Santhosh as saying.

China has long wielded a large trade surplus with India, particularly in manufactured goods.

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