Google has removed a popular app from its Play store in India that scans users’ smartphones, identifies apps made in China and removes them.
The app was removed because it violates Google’s policies which do not allow apps to delete or deactivate other apps unless they are related to security, the U.S. tech company said.
The app lets users decide whether to delete apps developed by Chinese companies. If the application did not find any applicable apps, a message popped up telling users, “You are awesome, no China app found.”
The app only recently hit the Indian market and quickly went viral with five million downloads, according to experts. That popularity may partly be due to heightened tensions between India and China.
The two countries are locked in a protracted dispute over a border in the Himalayas, after China won a war over the territory in 1962.
There have been repeated clashes ever since, and several people were injured in an incident in May, according to reports in Indian media.
These tensions have led to greater anti-Chinese sentiment in India, where celebrities have called on followers to delete apps made in China, including TikTok, which enjoys widespread popularity in India.
An alternative to TikTok, likewise popular in India, was also recently removed from Google’s Play store due to policy violations, local media reported.
On Tuesday, an editorial in China’s state-run Global Times newspaper wrote, “If the Indian government allows this irrational anti-China sentiment to further ruin bilateral relations, it will likely lead to a quid pro quo penalty from Beijing.”