Highlights

  • India's diplomatic offensive after Pak Hyundai's 'Kashmir freedom' tweet
  • South Korean envoy summoned; minister called Indian counterpart
  • Indian govt asked firms to refrain from false comments on territorial integrity

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Pak Hyundai Kashmir row: South Korean minister calls up Indian govt to express 'regret'

South Korea's foreign minister Chung Eui-yong called his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and conveyed regret.

Days after a tweet on Kashmir by carmaker Hyundai's Pakistani dealers kicked up a storm, the Indian government said that it had taken serious note of the issue. The matter was raised by the Modi government at the highest level in South Korea, the home country of Hyundai.

On February 5, an unverified handle on Twitter called Hyundai Pakistan posted the text, "Let us remember the sacrifices of our Kashmiri brothers and stand in support as they continue to struggle for freedom." An image posted alongside carried the text KASHMIR covered in barbed wire. February 5 is observed as 'Kashmir Solidarity Day' in Pakistan.

ALSO WATCH | How Pak Hyundai dealer's 'Kashmir freedom' tweet led to 'boycott' trend in India

In response, the hashtag 'Boycott Hyundai' started trending in India.

The spokesperson of India's external affairs ministry said that after the post came to light, India's ambassador in Seoul contacted the Hyundai headquarters and sought an explanation. Then on February 7, the Modi administration summoned the South Korean ambassador to register "strong displeasure" on the "unacceptable" social media post.

Subsequently, South Korea's foreign minister Chung Eui-yong called his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar and conveyed regret about the offence caused to India by the post.

In a statement following these interactions, the Indian government stressed that while investments are welcome in the country by foreign companies, such firms and their affiliates should "refrain from false and misleading comments on matters of sovereignty and territorial integrity." The statement said that on matters of territorial integrity, "there can be no compromise".

Following the uproar on Indian social media, Hyundai had issued a statement distancing itself from the comments by its Pakistani dealer. However, many people, including leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party had called the clarification "half-hearted" and sought a proper apology.

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