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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Hyundai is being chastised in India after a Pakistani partner tweeted on Kashmir.

NEW DELHI: Following a tweet from South Korea’s Hyundai Motor’s Pakistani partner expressing solidarity with the people of Kashmir’s disputed area, Indians called for a boycott of the company’s cars on Monday.

The issue arose on Sunday, a day after Pakistan commemorated its annual Kashmir Solidarity Day, with posts from Hyundai’s partner Nishat Group on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram honouring Kashmiris fighting for self-determination.

Hundreds of Indian social media users backed demands for a boycott, saying Hyundai should apologise for being disrespectful to India’s position on the decades-old dispute. India considers Kashmir to be a vital part of the country.

Hundreds of Indians have expressed their desire to cancel Hyundai car orders in order to penalise the corporation, while pushing support for domestic companies such as Tata Motors and Mahindra & Mahindra.

Hyundai India’s response to the uproar was that the company has a “zero tolerance policy regarding insensitive communication, and we firmly reject any such view.”

“The uninvited social media post tying Hyundai Motor India to this wonderful country offends our unrivalled devotion and service to this great country,” @HyundaiIndia wrote, adding that it stands by its “strong culture of respecting nationalism.”

Reuters reached out to Hyundai’s headquarters in Seoul and Pakistan’s largest commercial conglomerate, Nishat Group, for comment, but received no immediate response.

Hyundai is India’s second-biggest car seller, trailing only Maruti Suzuki, which sold about half a million vehicles in the country last fiscal year and exported over a million, making it the country’s top auto exporter.

Hyundai should clarify its position on Kashmir, according to Ashwani Mahajan, an official with the economic section of the powerful Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) organisation, which has deep ties to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government.

“While not criticising @HyundaiPakistan, the Indian branch of @Hyundai Global does not even acknowledge Kashmir as a part of India. This says a lot about their dedication to India. Isn’t it time to #BoycottHyundai? ” he said.

Ashutosh Soni, an Indian Twitter user, said he had cancelled his reservation for Hyundai’s Verna sedan, which was scheduled to be delivered this month, and instead ordered a vehicle from rival Honda Motor.

“#BoycottHyundai, that’s it!” Soni tweeted on Sunday under the handle @CA AshutoshSoni, alongside a photo of himself receiving a new Honda automobile.

“Let’s put them out of business. India is one of the largest automobile markets in the world “With a snapshot of a drop in Hyundai’s share price on Monday, filmmaker and social activist Ashoke Pandit stated on Twitter.

Concerns over record numbers of COVID-19 cases in South Korea, as well as persistent concerns that a global chip shortage will affect production and sales, caused Hyundai’s stock to fall 1.25 percent on Monday, outperforming Seoul’s benchmark index.

The controversy over the social media post exemplifies the dangers that global corporations confront in the face of increasing nationalism in the region.

In the past, Indian Twitter users have called for a boycott of Chinese goods in 2020, following a border dispute between the two Asian giants that impacted automobile supply chains and other businesses.

After its abroad website was discovered selling merchandise with the faces of Hindu gods and other religious symbols, Amazon.com Inc received anger on social media in India.

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