After India's foreign minister demanded Amazon apologize for allowing doormats featuring India's flag to be sold on its Canadian website, the retail giant pulled the products and, according to the foreign ministry, expressed "regret" they had ever been available.
The doormats caused a diplomatic uproar in India after they appeared on the Amazon site. Some viewed walking on the flag as insulting the national symbol, a crime in India.
Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted Wednesday that if Amazon did not “withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately” and “tender unconditional apology,” India would not grant a visa to "any Amazon official" and would rescind previously issued visas.
Amazon must tender unconditional apology. They must withdraw all products insulting our national flag immediately. /1— 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
A spokesman for the ministry, Vikas Swarup, today tweeted a letter in which he said Amazon expressed “regret” over the incident. In the letter Swarup posted, India's country manager, Amit Agarwal, said a third-party seller, not Amazon itself, was behind those products –- which he said were immediately removed.
“Amazon India is committed to respecting Indian laws and customs," Agarwal, an Amazon vice president, wrote to the foreign minister, according to Swarup. "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.”
Asked by ABC News if Amazon had indeed sent the letter, a spokesman for the company, Aaron Toso, only said in a statement, "The item is no longer for sale on the site."
ABC News' Zunaira Zaki contributed to this report.