Indian people

Chinese apps ban only hurts Indian people


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The Tiktok app icon (top right corner) on a smartphone screen, Feb. 13, 2019. / Xinhua

The Tiktok app icon (top right corner) on a smartphone screen, Feb. 13, 2019. / Xinhua

Editor’s Note: Andy Mok is a researcher at the Center for China and Globalization. The article reflects the authors opinions and not necessarily those of the CGTN.

Earlier this week, India announced a ban on 59 Chinese apps, some of which provide vital economic opportunities and productivity tools for the Indian people. He did so to open a new front in his skirmish with China and this is wrong for several reasons.

First, an escalating conflict with China will weaken India geopolitically and increase the risk of triggering a domestic political crisis. Besides China, India is surrounded by states like Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh and its relations with these neighbors have deteriorated since the accession of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the first place despite his declaration of a “neighborhood first” policy.

An ongoing conflict with China can be embarrassing and expose Indian weaknesses that could be exploited by other countries, especially those with which India has border disputes. Given the rise of Hindu nationalism in India, these border issues can easily exacerbate domestic political issues, including reinvigorating and empowering Sikh, Tamil and other separatist ambitions.

Second, India still faces significant national development challenges that need to be addressed. Although it has a population similar in size to that of China and has roughly the same GDP and GDP per capita as 40 years ago, its GDP of $ 3.2 trillion today represents 20% of China’s $ 15.3 trillion. Likewise, India’s per capita GDP of around US $ 2,300 is less than a quarter of China’s US $ 10,800.

Achieving higher literacy rates is vital for socio-economic progress and remains a development challenge for India. In 2020, the literacy rate reached 81.3% from 35% in 1971. But the growth of literacy has been described as slow, with some researchers predicting that universal literacy will not be achieved until well after 2050.

In addition, there is a large gender gap in literacy with an effective literacy rate for men of 82 percent and 65 percent for women. Likewise, literacy rates vary considerably from state to state, Bihar, which is the third most populous subnational entity in the world, the lowest at 64%.

Life expectancy in India is the latest domestic challenge. For men, it is 67.3 years, 69.6 years for women and 68 years in total. Access to health care is an important factor in increasing life expectancy. Here too India is lagging behind with around 50 doctors per 100,000 population. In comparison, Greece, Spain and Austria have around 10 times more doctors per capita.

Indian workers carry heavy goods near the Burrabazar wholesale market in Kolkata, India, September 20, 2018. / Xinhua

Indian workers carry heavy goods near the Burrabazar wholesale market in Kolkata, India, September 20, 2018. / Xinhua

By banning Chinese apps, India is making it even more difficult to resolve these development issues. With over 190 million downloads, India is TikTok’s largest market outside of China (the United States is second with 41 million). But TikTok is more than entertainment for hundreds of millions of people around the world. It is also a way for young people and creative people to earn a living.

India’s rich and vibrant cultural heritage offers its citizens, especially women, opportunities to share this culture with the world as well as a life-changing source of income.

In terms of education, Chinese universities like Tsinghua and others were the first to have e-learning technologies and methodologies to provide access to traditional and non-traditional students all over the world. These educational platforms can play a vital role from basic literacy to advanced technical skills in India.

Likewise, payment and e-commerce applications can provide Indians with a ladder out of poverty and lead more prosperous and dignified lives. The rise of Taobao villages in China provides a useful example of how people in rural areas can participate in global trade without suffering the upheavals associated with migrating to places with better economic opportunities.

Although there are other applications available, as China and India share important similarities in socio-economic development, Chinese applications and the companies behind them can offer the functions and experience. most relevant. In particular, rural e-commerce can be a particularly effective means of tackling gender inequalities in India by providing women with an independent source of income and the means to improve their level of education.

Finally, developing a comprehensive and integrated application ecosystem suited to India’s stage of development and goals can help improve healthcare. China has made significant progress in telemedicine and other app-based approaches to providing medical care in places where traditional health care is not available. By working with China and leveraging its investments and expertise in this area, India can achieve healthcare results cheaper and faster.

India has a lot to gain if it works with China, especially in the area of ​​technology. In particular, Chinese apps and the businesses that underpin them can help India address and overcome long-standing socio-economic challenges such as poverty, literacy, healthcare, and gender inequalities. sexes. The Indian government would be wise to recognize this.

(If you would like to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at opinions@cgtn.com.)

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