A few months ago, Amazon.com selling doormats resembling the Indian flag sparked an outrage among Indians. There was also an unprecedented public and private offensive against the US company by the government, say a report by Deccan Chronicle
In January, Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj publicly threatened to rescind visas of Amazon employees if the doormats were not removed from its Canadian website.
DC reports that a document seen by Reuters shows that the government went even further in private, asking its US and Canadian embassies to raise the matter ‘strongly’ with Amazon's senior leadership.
India also escalated the matter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and prompted a global audit by the company to "ensure that such products are not listed on any of its other websites around the world”, according to the document.
Amazon, which removed the products within 24 hours and apologized to the government, declined to comment.
There is a lot that is at stake for Amazon in India with its battle with Flipkart and Snapdeal for a bigger share of the ecommerce pie. In fact, it plans on investing over $5 billion to take on its rivals.
Amazon has now made India-specific laws that govern the use of the national flag and other emblems "an integral part of the global compliance process," the document said, outlining the steps Amazon and India have taken since the incident.
Amazon told the government that it had strengthened its in-house compliance units that monitor products sold by third-party vendors on its websites, the document said.
"Amazon India has conveyed that it is fully committed to respecting Indian laws and customs," the document said.
Image: Andy Melton