Hyundai Motor had expressed regret for an "unauthorised" tweet by its Pakistani partner on Kashmir and had the post deleted, but not before it faced calls for a boycott of its cars.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankarpti
news Controversy Tuesday, February 08, 2022 - 18:19

External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar on Tuesday, February 8, had a conversation with his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui-yong on India-South Korean bilateral issues, where they also addressed the recent controversy over a social media post of Hyundai Pakistan regarding Kashmir. Hyundai Motor had expressed regret for an "unauthorised" tweet by its Pakistani partner on Kashmir and got the offending post deleted, but not before it faced calls for a boycott of its cars. The Indian government also curtly told the company to be more forceful in its unequivocal apology.

"Received a call from ROK FM Chung Eui-yong today. Discussed bilateral and multilateral issues as also the Hyundai matter," tweeted Jaishankar. A spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs said that the South Korean Foreign Minister “regretted the offence caused to the people and Government of India by the social media post."

"We had seen a social media post on the so-called Kashmir Solidarity Day made by Hyundai Pakistan. Immediately after this social media post on Sunday, 6 February 2022, our Ambassador in Seoul contacted the Hyundai Headquarters and sought an explanation. The offending post had been removed subsequently. The Ambassador of the Republic of Korea was summoned by the Ministry of External Affairs yesterday 7th February 2022. The strong displeasure of the Government on the unacceptable social media post by Hyundai Pakistan was conveyed to him. 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,” Arindam Bagchi, the official spokesperson of the ministry of external affairs, said.

Hyundai on Tuesday issued a statement saying "deeply regretting any offence caused to the people of India by this unofficial social media activity". Hyundai Motor Company, it said, "does not comment on political or religious issues in any specific region".

"Therefore, it is clearly against Hyundai Motor's policy that the independently-owned distributor in Pakistan made unauthorised Kashmir-related social media posts from their own accounts," it said, adding it has ensured that the offensive tweets are deleted.

The issue also figured in the Rajya Sabha, when Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal said the government asked Hyundai Motors to be more forceful in its unequivocal apology.

A Twitter account of a Hyundai dealer in Pakistan with handle @hyundaiPakistanOfficial had posted a message supporting Kashmir Solidarity Day, backing what it called the "struggle for freedom".

#BoycottHyundai were among the top trends on Twitter in India on Monday, as tweeteratis called for dumping the second-largest carmaker in the country for Tata Motors.

Clarifying that its subsidiary Hyundai Motor India is not associated with the distributor in Pakistan, the company said, "We strongly reject the distributor's unauthorised non-business-related social media activity".

Hyundai runs a joint venture in Pakistan that includes one of the country's top businessmen Mian Mansha. Kia Pakistan is operated by Lucky Motor Corp, one of the largest business groups in the nation.

Hyundai Motor India is the second-largest carmaker in the country after Maruti Suzuki India. It currently sells 12 models, including Creta and Venue, in the domestic market.

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