In 2020, Amazon and the Indian government were involved in a bit of a tussle over allegations of the e-commerce giant’s predatory policies. India’s Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal had then said, “They [Amazon] may have put in a billion dollars but if they make a loss of a billion dollars every year, then jolly well will have to finance that billion-dollar. So, it is not as if they are doing a favour to India when they invest a billion dollars.”
And India still maintains the same stand, if you are a foreign firm and you invest in India, we respect that. But it isn’t favour and doesn’t put you in a privileged position.
Hyundai Motor is now being made to realise this. The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has made some strong remarks following Hyundai Pakistan’s anti-India remarks.
MEA condemns Hyundai Pakistan’s anti-India remarks
MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi responded to media queries on social media posts by Hyundai Pakistan while marking the Kashmir Solidarity Day on February 5.
As per his statement, three important developments have taken place-
● India’s Ambassador in Seoul contacted Hyundai headquarters, seeking an explanation. The offending post was removed subsequently.
● The Korean Ambassador was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs on February 7, two days after Hyundai Pakistan posted offending tweets.
● Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea H.E. Mr Chung Eui-yong called his Indian counterpart S. Jaishankar. During the phone call, the Hyundai matter was discussed.
Received a call from ROK FM Chung Eui-yong today. Discussed bilateral and multilateral issues as also the Hyundai matter.
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) February 8, 2022
India draws a red line
New Delhi has made it clear that it won’t tolerate any adverse remarks on its territorial integrity. Bagchi said, “The strong displeasure of the Government on the unacceptable social media post by Hyundai Pakistan was conveyed” to the South Korean Ambassador.
The MEA spokesperson added, “It was highlighted that this matter concerned India’s territorial integrity on which there could be no compromise. We expected the Company to take appropriate action to properly address these issues.”
The spokesperson also said that the Korean Foreign Minister “also conveyed that they regretted the offence caused to the people and Government of India by the social media post.”
Bagchi himself said, “India welcomes investments by foreign companies in various sectors. But, it is also expected that such companies or their affiliates will refrain from false and misleading comments on matters of sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
India’s show of strength
The people of the country have already condemned the Korean automaker over Hyundai Pakistan’s actions of marking ‘Kashmir Solidarity Day’ on February 5 and urging people to remember the ‘sacrifice’ of Kashmiri brothers and sisters.
Hyundai Pakistan even posted an image from Kashmir on social media with a caption stating, “Let us remember the sacrifices of our Kashmiri brothers and stand in support as they continue to struggle for freedom.”
On Instagram, the message for Kashmir which Hyundai Pakistan had was this: “Praying for the liberation of our eternally beautiful Kashmir today and always.”
However, after #BoycottHyundai became the top trend on Indian social media, the automaker realised that it had rubbed the customers in its largest overseas market the wrong way.
Read more: What’s cooking Hyundai India?
So, there was some damage control. At the same time, the Indian government too raised the matter at the highest levels. And we had a situation where the Korean Foreign Minister himself contacted his Indian counterpart to handle the situation.
The Hyundai episode becomes a lesson for all global manufacturers. If you want to sell your products in India, you will have to respect India’s sovereignty and territorial integrity instead of playing into Islamabad’s dirty tricks.