India summons S. Korean envoy over Facebook post on Kashmir

February 8, 2022 GMT

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s Ministry of External Affairs has summoned South Korea’s ambassador to protest against a social media post about disputed Kashmir by Hyundai Motor’s partner in Pakistan, an official said Tuesday.

The envoy was called to the ministry on Monday, spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said. He said the ambassador was told the “offending” Facebook post “concerned India’s territorial integrity on which there could be no compromise.”

Hyundai, a South Korean automobile manufacturer, is facing a severe backlash in India after its partner in Pakistan commemorated on Facebook what it called “the sacrifices of Kashmiris struggling for self-determination.” The post was made by Pakistan’s Nishat Group, the country’s largest business conglomerate, on Saturday, when Pakistan marked its annual Day of Solidarity with Kashmir.

Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, which both claim the region in its entirety. India accuses Pakistan of supporting armed rebels who want to unite the region, either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country. Islamabad denies the accusation and says it only provides diplomatic and moral support for the Kashmiri people.

ADVERTISEMENT

Bagchi said in a statement that the foreign ministers of India and South Korea also spoke over the phone, and South Korean Foreign Minister Chung Eui-yong said he “regretted the offense caused to the people and government of India by the social media post.”

The backlash in India was mostly felt on social media, particularly Twitter, where people demanded an apology from the company and called for a boycott.

Hyundai Motor India issued a statement on Tuesday calling the post by its Pakistan partner “unsolicited” and “offending.”

“It is clearly against Hyundai Motor’s policy that the independently owned distributor in Pakistan made unauthorized Kashmir-related social media posts from their own accounts,” the company said.

Hyundai is the second-largest car seller in India after Maruti Suzuki, which is owned by Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corp.