Amazon writes to Sushma, regrets hurting Indian sensibilities

Sushma Swaraj

Sushma Swaraj

Amazon has withdrawn a doormat featuring the Indian flag after the country's foreign minister threatened to cancel its workers' visas.

Amazon on Thursday wrote to Sushma Swaraj, expressing regret at hurting Indian sensibilities and pulled off the offending item. 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did not apologise, none of its "officials" would be granted Indian visas, and the visas issued earlier would also be rescinded.

The episode involving the Indian tricolour doormat is the latest controversy to hit Amazon over India-linked items.

A copy of the letter was also tweeted by Sushma Swarup in which Amazon said the items were posted by a third party and that they have taken the items down.

After the strong protests, Amazon Canada removed the Indian flag doormat from its website.

The head of the retailer in India sent the apology to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Wednesday, according to a tweet by a ministry spokesperson. Its portals in the US, UK, France and Germany also have doormats depicting the American and British flags.

Iceberg the size of DE is about to break off from Antarctica
Part of the Larsen C ice shelf is now hanging by only a relative thread after a crack expanded quckly last month. When it splits from the ice shelf, the Larsen C Ice Shelf will lose more than 10% of its land mass.

Soon the tweets went viral and led to an outrage on the social media by Indians and people of Indian-origin.Swaraj is one of the most active Indian ministers on Twitter with almost 7 million followers.

The letter added that Amazon remains "steadfastly committed to India", and referred to its CEO Jeff Bezo's announcement of Amazon planning to invest $5 billion in India as proof of their commitment.

Before withdrawing the product, Amazon sought to reassure angry and concerned Twitter users, saying the mats were not being sold their Indian portal and that the issue was being dealt with.

In a series of tweets, Ms Swaraj had asked the Indian High Commission in Canada to take up the issue with Amazon after it was brought to her attention by another Twitter user.

"These products were not available in India". The product is listed as "Indian coat of arms seal dog t-shirt" and is priced at $19.99 (Rs 1362).