Beijing says India is violating basic market principles and rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) after the country barred 47 Chinese apps over alleged security concerns.

The move adds further pressure to already tense relations between the world’s most populous countries. Earlier this year, New Delhi banned 177 Chinese mobile apps, including the highly popular video-sharing service TikTok and online multiplayer battle game Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG). At this point, there are no Chinese apps left among the top 500 apps used in India, according to TechCrunch.

“We firmly oppose the Indian side’s repeated use of ‘national security’ as an excuse to prohibit some mobile apps with Chinese background,” the Chinese embassy in India spokesperson Ji Rong said, stressing that “China and India are opportunities of development for each other rather than threats.”

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian expressed “grave concerns” over the drastic steps taken by its neighbor, calling for the immediate correction of the “discriminatory approach and avoid causing further damage to bilateral cooperation.”

Diplomatic and economic ties between the two nations worsened after a number of Indian soldiers were killed in a military clash with Chinese troops in the Himalayas in June. Since then, “boycott China” sentiment has spread across Indian social media with people posting videos showing the destruction of Chinese-made products.

Earlier this year, New Delhi also altered its foreign investment policy, under which Chinese investors need state approval before they can invest in Indian firms. The move has reduced Chinese investment in Indian startups.

China is currently the biggest source of imports for India. According to the latest official data, bilateral trade between the two countries reached $97 billion in 2019, two-thirds of which account for Indian imports.

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