In a letter to Sushma Swaraj, Vice President and Country Manager of Amazon India, Amit Agarwal, said, "I am writing in connection with the products that carried the Indian flag, as referred to in your tweet. Amazon India is committed to respecting Indian laws and customs. To the extent that these items offered by a third- party seller in Canada offended Indian sensibilities, Amazon regrets the same. At no time did we intend or mean to offend Indian sentiments."
The Amazon India head also said the company remains steadfastly committed to the country, as evident by CEO Jeff Bezos' announcement last year of company's plans to invest $5 billion in India.
"We value immensely our relationship with the Indian government, the country's entrepreneurs and innovators, an most importantly our Indian customers and employees," Amit Agarwal said.
Late Wednesday, after receiving a complaint about Amazon Canada selling Indian flag doormats on its platform, Sushma Swaraj reacted sharply and asked the Amazon to withdraw the products and tender an unconditional apology, failing which no official of Amazon will be granted Indian visa, and the ones issued earlier will also be rescinded.
Sushma Swaraj had also asked the Indian Embassy to take up the matter with Amazon Canada. After the strong protests, Amazon Canada removed the Indian flag doormat from its website.
In a series of tweets, Sushma Swaraj had expressed her anger at the sale of such an offensive doormat by Amazon, which is seeking a big presence in India.
Indian High Commission in Canada : This is unacceptable. Please take this up with Amazon at the highest level. https://t.co/L4yI3gLk3h— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) January 11, 2017
If this is not done forthwith, we will not grant Indian Visa to any Amazon official. We will also rescind the Visas issued earlier.— Sushma Swaraj (@SushmaSwaraj) January 11, 2017
Tweeting Amit Agarwal's response to Sushma Swaraj, the MEA Spokesperson said, "In response to EAM @SushmaSwaraj's tweet, @amazon writes to her, expresses regret at hurting Indian sensibilities, pulls offending item."
In his letter, Amit Agarwal also explained that a third-party seller, not Amazon Canada, had listed these products for sale on the platform.
"These products were not available in India. After learning of the products' listing, we immediately removed them from the Canadian website and implemented measures to ensure that these products could not be sold on any of our other marketplaces or websites," he further said.
Amit Agarwal also offered to meet Sushma Swaraj to discuss the issue and Amazon's broader relationship with India.