PUBG was banned by the Government of India in September 2020 as part of the Digital Surgical strike in the wake of the tensions against China.
PUBG Ban: When tensions between India and China had reached a boiling point following the clash in Galwan, PUBG Mobile had to pay a very heavy price. The game was banned in September 2020 by the Government of India by invoking the Information Technology Act 2000 under Section 69A. In the meantime, PUBG Mobile India faced competition with the launch of FAU-G in India. FAU-G, which stood for Fearless and United Guards, was based on real-life incidents in Galwan and that had a lot of nationalistic pride running on the game, with Bollywood Actor Akshay Kumar launching the game as well as announcement that 20 percent of the profits the game has earned would go into the Bharat ke Veer Trust of the Army.
PUBG Mobile India released teasers that they would relaunch around New Year Time. However, things did not materialise and they announced that they would try to launch a comeback in March 2021 but even that did not happen. The ban on PUBG Mobile India has remained and it looks highly unlikely that the game will be launched in India anytime soon.
Why was PUBG Mobile banned in India? Under what grounds was it banned? Here are some of the major points as to why it was banned.
The main reason was the sovereignty and integrity of India. In June and September, when 59 and 118 Chinese apps including PUBG Mobile India were banned, the Government of India stated in the order that the apps were “prejudicial to the sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order”. The ban was done under Section 69A of the Information Technology Act of 2000.
PUBG Mobile had written to the Government of India but apparently, they were not satisfied with the response.
The reason that PUBG Mobile India was banned is because of the presence of the Chinese entity of Tencent. When the ban was put in place, Tencent was removed as one of the entities and PUBG Mobile worked hard to ensure that there was no Chinese connection to the App. However, in a recent report carried on IGN India, a source close to the Government of India stated that the game was still being published in some ways in China and the removal is just a show. Thus, the Government of India announced that the ban on the game will not be lifted.
In an RTI query, the Government of India reiterated that no official permission was given. MEITY (Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology) has collectively banned the Chinese app operations in the country. According to the stated policy, the Government will not treat anyone differently or give special favours and meeting a banned entity individually goes against the norms of the administration.