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Battlegrounds Mobile ban demanded by India's traders' association but the government may not heed

It has been just one day and concerned people and organisations are already clamouring for a ban on Battlegrounds Mobile India.

Story highlights
  • Krafton's Battlegrounds Mobile India is now available to play under beta testing.
  • CAIT has now joined the politicians who are demanding a ban on the game.
  • Battlegrounds Mobile India is essentially PUBG Mobile in a new garb.

You can now play Battlegrounds Mobile India, but only if you manage to either get a slot in the beta testing programme or procure the APK file. That is because the game has not got a wider release yet and a launch date is awaited. While Krafton might take some time to roll out Battlegrounds Mobile India for everyone, people are already calling for a ban on the PUBG Mobile India avatar. The Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) has demanded a ban on Battlegrounds Mobile India because it is "not only a threat to national sovereignty and security of India but also harmful for young generations."

CAIT's urge for a ban seems misplaced, though, because even though Battlegrounds Mobile India may be a reincarnation of PUBG Mobile, it has no linkage to China, at least going by Krafton's words and the information available publicly. The concern that Battlegrounds Mobile India is a threat to India's sovereignty and security is based on the fact that PUBG Mobile's publisher is Tencent Games. Last year, the government banned entities that had any linkage to a Chinese company, Tencent, in PUBG Mobile's case. But this time, Krafton has taken matters into its own hands for Battlegrounds Mobile India. In fact, the South Korean company severed its ties with Tencent for any of its products meant for India.

"After #PUBG was banned last year [and] now they are making backdoor entry by circumventing Indian laws," CAIT secretary general Praveen Khandelwal wrote on Twitter. Well, he is not entirely wrong. If we, for a moment, do not look at the Chinese or South Korean association of Battlegrounds Mobile India, the game is nothing but a repackaged PUBG Mobile. In the new package, you have major censorship such as the green-hit effect and warnings on extended playtimes -- something that Krafton believes will be enough to appease the government this time, over and above the fact that there is no China connection.

Before Khandelwal, who represents CAIT's opinion on Battlegrounds Mobile India, politicians from different Indian states asked the government to take action against Battlegrounds Mobile India for having flouted last year's ban by devising an overhaul. From Arunachal Pradesh MLA Ninong Ering to Telangana's MP Arvind Dharampuri, the call for a ban is strong. But the government seems unlikely to heed them.

In a response to an RTI application, the Indian government confirmed that it cannot preemptively ban Battlegrounds Mobile India and that Krafton met officials from the Indian embassy in Seoul, South Korea to discuss the launch of Battlegrounds Mobile India. Per the agreement between Krafton and Indian government officials, the PUBG owner committed an investment of $100 million into India, the announcement of which took place last year alongside that of PUBG Mobile India.

The urge for the ban on Battlegrounds Mobile India is more or less politicised right now, but what will follow if parents and medical experts pitch in is something only time will tell.