The Indian army had directed all of its 1.3 million strong members to delete their Facebook and Instagram accounts from their mobile phones, citing security concerns and leakage of sensitive data.

According to Times of India, the move, which includes officers and soldiers alike, also requires them to delete some 89 apps, including 59 with Chinese links, from their devices.

Those who fail to follow the order will face strict action.

"The directive has been issued because there has been an exponential increase in the number of military personnel being targeted online by intelligence agencies of Pakistan and China," the portal quoted an unnamed army source as saying.

Last November, Indian army personnel were directed to avoid using WhatsApp for work, and officers with "sensitive appointments" were told to purge their Facebook accounts.

The latest move comes following the deadly clashes between the Indian and Chinese military at a disputed Himalayan region last month, which left 20 Indian soldiers dead, and scores of others injured. The number of Chinese casualties is yet to be known.

It also resulted in the Indian government banning China-linked mobile apps, including the highly popular TikTok. Also included in the ban list were Helo, UC Browser, WeChat, and Clash of Kings, among others.

According to the Times of India report, there have been reports in the last few years, of Indian military personnel falling into the "virtual honey-trap" laid out by Pakistani intelligence agents posing as women.

Back in December, the Indian Navy also banned the use of Facebook among its personnel and barred them from carrying smart phones into bases, dockyards, and warships.

India is placed fourth out of 138 countries in the 2020 Global Firepower military strength rankings, after China. The United States and Russia are ranked first and second, respectively.

Source: Times of India
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