Domino's, KFC, and Pizza Hut have all made separate comments apologising for social media messages on Kashmir's "fight for freedom" that were published by their Pakistan-based affiliates. As additional corporations become entangled in the diplomatic squabble, global carmaker Toyota Motor and fast food giant Domino's Pizza are one of a half-dozen that have apologised to India over online posts from their Pakistani affiliates showing support for occupied Kashmir. The explanation comes after an unusual diplomatic escalation on Tuesday between South Korea and India over social media remarks by Hyundai Motors' Pakistani partner, which sparked outrage in India and demands for a boycott of the company. As outrage over the tweets escalated on Twitter, Suzuki Motor, the main owner of India's largest automaker Honda Motor, Maruti Suzuki, and Isuzu Motor, South Korea's Kia Motors, and Yum! Brands' KFC all issued apologies.
The incident underlines the dangers that multinational firms face as they navigate sensitivities in the face of increasing nationalism in South Asia, pushing them to enhance their social media rules to preserve their image. The dispute erupted on Sunday, a day after numerous firms posted comments on social media commemorating Kashmir Solidarity Day, which Pakistan observes every year on February 5 to honour the efforts of Kashmiris fighting for independence. Toyota, the world's largest automaker, warned on Twitter that any political remarks made by its dealers or other partners are unauthorised and do not reflect the company's position. "We apologise for any inconvenience this may have caused," the firm stated, adding that it was putting in place steps to avoid future exploitation of its brand and similar incidents.
Suzuki apologised similarly, stating that he is not affiliated with any political or religious organisations. Hundreds of people took to social media to demand an apology from Hyundai, India's second-largest automobile manufacturer. Hundreds of people in India have claimed they will cancel their automobile orders. On Tuesday, the manufacturer issued an apology, expressing remorse for any offence given to Indians. Nonetheless, hundreds of members of India's opposition Congress party's youth wing assembled in anger outside one of Hyundai's dealerships in the western city of Ahmedabad. Some carried signs that read "Boycott Hyundai" and asked that the firm tweet that Kashmir is a part of India. "We're condemning Hyundai's views on Kashmir, its efforts to disrupt India's security, and the sacrifices our warriors have made to safeguard Kashmir and the nation," said Gaurang Makvana, a representative of the young Congress.
The dispute over the statement by Hyundai, a South Korean company, caused Foreign Minister Chung Eui-Yong to summon External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar. According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the Korean minister "regretted the offence" made to the Indian public and government by the tweet. "We had observed a tweet on the so-called Kashmir Solidarity Day published by Hyundai Pakistan," MEA official spokeswoman Arindam Bagchi said. Our Ambassador in Seoul phoned Hyundai Headquarters immediately after seeing this tweet on Sunday, February 6th, 2022, and demanded an explanation. Following that, the offending post was deleted. The Ministry of External Affairs summoned the Republic of Korea's Ambassador.
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