Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Thursday said India’s surprise move to ban 59 Chinese apps days after a violent face-off between Indian and Chinese soldiers in eastern Ladakh was a “digital strike”.

“We banned Chinese apps to protect data of countrymen; it was a digital strike,” Prasad said at a BJP rally in West Bengal today, news agency PTI reported.

“Now you can hear about only two ‘Cs’ – coronavirus and China. We believe in peace and solve problems through discussion, but if somebody casts an evil eye on India, we will give a befitting reply… if our 20 jawans have sacrificed their lives, then the toll is double on the Chinese side. You all must have noticed that they have not come out with any figure,” the Law, Communications, Electronics and Information Technology Minister said.

In a virtual meeting attended by 20 political parties in June after the Galwan clash, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured that India’s armed forces are “capable and nobody can take even an inch of our land.”

The Prime Minister said the country today has such capability that no one can even dare look towards an inch of our land. He said that today, Indian forces are capable of moving together across sectors. While on the one hand, the Army has been given a free hand to take necessary steps, India has also conveyed its position clearly to China through diplomatic means.

Meanwhile, the IT minister had on Wednesday, giving a clear signal for greater support to startups working towards enriching the digital universe, said that while Indians download a lot of apps from Google Play Store and Apple App Store, it is time to upload some.

Taking part in a virtual event to mark five years of the “Digital India” initiative, the IT Minister encouraged Indian entrepreneurs to make products for the world.

“You know you have a supportive government. If any of you need any concrete help, do reach out,” he said, addressing the startup community in the country.

Moderated by YourStory Founder and CEO Shradha Sharma, the event also saw the participation of Paytm Founder and CEO Vijay Shekhar Sharma, Udaan Co-Founder Sujeet Kumar and InMobi Founder and CEO Naveen Tewari, among others.

Talking about how “Digital India ” helped the country cope with COVID-19 challenges, the IT Minister said that “85 percent of the IT industry was working properly even in the face of severe COVID-19 restrictions”.

Prasad further said that India is looking to tap the opportunities provided by Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence in a variety of sectors including health and agriculture.

“I think implementation of Blockchain can lead to more meaningful e-governance,” he said.

Days after the brutal face-off between Indian and Chinese troops at Galwan valley in eastern Ladakh, the Indian government on June 29 banned 59 Chinese apps, including TikTok, Shareit, UC Browser and Xiaomi’s Mi Community over national security concerns in a diplomatic reaction to the Chinese aggression.

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, invoking it’s power under section 69 A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats decided to block 59 apps since in view of the information available they are “engaged in activities which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of state and public order”.

Upon receiving of recent credible inputs that such Apps pose threat to sovereignty and integrity of India, the Government of India has decided to disallow the usage of certain Apps, used in both mobile and non-mobile Internet-enabled devices, a ministry statement read.

The Government also asserted that this move will safeguard the interests of crores of Indian mobile and internet users.

Following the ban, PM Modi decided to quit the Chinese microblogging website Sina Weibo, which he had joined a few years ago.

Prime Minister’s account on Wednesday went blank after his profile photo, posts, and comments were removed from the handle.

PM Modi had 115 posts on Weibo. It was decided to manually delete them and after much effort 113 posts were removed.

The two posts left were posts where the PM has photos with President Xi Jinping.

It is difficult to remove posts with photos on Weibo of their President which is why two posts still remained. Now all the posts have gone.

For VIP accounts, Weibo has a more complex procedure to quit which is why the official process was initiated. For reasons best known to the Chinese, there was great delay in granting this basic permission, sources quoted by ANI said.

(With agency inputs)