Amazon.com removed doormats bearing a design that resembled the Indian tri-color flag from its Canadian website on Wednesday, after an Indian government threat to rescind visas of the U.S. company's employees if they did not stop selling the product. "Amazon must tender unconditional apology," India's external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said on Twitter.
Swaraj continued, "They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately. If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant Indian Visa to any Amazon official. We will also rescind the Visas issued earlier." She further tweeted that she had asked the Indian High Commission in Canada to take up the issue with Amazon, after it was brought to her attention by a Twitter user from India's financial capital of Mumbai.
The doormat, sold by a third-party on Amazon's Canadian portal - which sells doormats fashioned around other national flags - was taken down late on Wednesday. "The item is no longer available for sale on the site," a spokeswoman for Amazon said in an email. In accordance with Indian law, any desecration of its flag is punishable with fines and imprisonment.
Amazon is investing heavily in India, the company’s fastest growing region, according to a statement made by Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos last year. In fact, the company vowed to invest more than $5 billion as it takes on home-grown Flipkart and Snapdeal for a bigger share of the world's fastest growing internet services market.