After external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj’s strong objection to a listing on internet marketplace Amazon’s Canada portal about doormats depicting the Indian flag, the company pulled down the product from its website. Besides this, Amazon India’s vice president and country manager Amit Agarwal wrote to Swaraj expressing “regret at hurting Indian sensibilities”.
WATCH VIDEO | After Sushma Swaraj, Economic Affairs Secretary Slams Amazon For Selling Indian Flag Doormats
The letter signed by Agarwal was posted on Twitter by official spokesperson of the foreign ministry Vikas Swarup. Agarwal wrote: “A third-party seller, not Amazon, had listed these products for sale in Canada. These products were not available in India. After learning of the products’ listing, we immediately removed them from the Canadian website and implemented measures to ensure that these products could not be sold on any of our other marketplaces or websites”.
On Wednesday, after a Twitter user brought the issue to Swaraj’s notice, she asked the online retailer to withdraw the products and tender an unconditional apology. She warned that if Amazon did not apologise, none of its “officials” would be granted Indian visas, and the visas issued earlier would also be rescinded.
In his letter Agarwal also invoked the company’s investment commitment made by its CEO Jeff Bezos on his visits to India. “Amazon remains steadfastly committed to India, as evidenced by CEO Jeff Bezos’ announcement last year of our plans to invest $5 billion in India,” Agarwal noted in the letter.
Bezos has met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at least twice in the last two-and-a-half years — in October 2014 and June 2016, and had announced $3 billion investment in India during his 2016 visit, in addition to the $2 billion already invested.
“Amazon India is committed to respecting Indian laws and customs. To the extent that these items offered by a third-party seller in Canada offended Indian sensibilities, Amazon regrets the same. At no time did we intend or mean to offend Indian sentiments,” Agarwal wrote.
Amazon’s Canada portal also has doormats depicting the Canadian, American and British flags. Its portals in the US, UK, France and Germany also have doormats depicting the American and British flags. In August last year, Amazon came under attack for selling doormats with images of Hindu gods and goddesses. The doormats were later removed.