Amazon India chief writes to Sushma, apologises

Amazon India chief writes to Sushma, apologises

Amazon on Thursday apologised for putting on sale doormats designed like the national flag of India — a day after External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj warned the global e-commerce giant with stern action.

“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,” Amit Agarwal, vice president and country manager of Amazon India, wrote to the external affairs minister on Thursday.

Agarwal wrote to Sushma that “a third-party seller, not Amazon, had listed doormats” designed like the national flag of India for sale in Canada.

“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 marketplaces or websites,” the Amazon India country manager said.

India on Wednesday threatened to deny visa to any official of Amazon unless the global e-commerce giant apologised for trying to sell tricolour doormats in Canada.Sushma also threatened to withdraw the visas already issued to the officials of the e-commerce company for their visits to India, if Amazon did not provide an “unconditional apology and withdraw all products insulting” the tricolour. She also asked acting High Commissioner of Canada to India, Arun Kumar Sahu, to lodge a protest with the top brass of Amazon.

Agarwal on Thursday wrote to Sushma that Amazon remained steadfastly committed to India, as evident by its chief executive officer Jeff Bezos’ announcement last year of plans to invest $5 billion in the country.

“We value immensely our relationship with the Indian government, the country’s entrepreneurs and innovators and most importantly our Indian customers and employees,” he added.

Indian community in Canada as well as social media users early last week strongly reacted after Amazon Canada started selling the doormats, themed not only on tricolour of India, but also on national flags of other countries.

An online petition was signed by over 3,000 people to force Amazon to apologise and remove the tricolour doormats from its site. The strong protests over social media forced the e-commerce major to remove the doormats from its portal in Canada by the middle of last week.

Swaraj, however, swung into action on Wednesday after a Twitter user Atul Bhobe posted on the micro-blogging website an old screen-shot of the portal of Amazon Canada, showing on sale the doormats themed on the national flag of India.

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