A “Kashmir” tweet by its Pakistan unit has landed Hyundai in India’s line of fire

Caught in the middle.
Caught in the middle.
Image: REUTERS/Truth Leem
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Update: The South Korean government has reacted to the controversy saying it “regretted the offence caused to the people of India” over Hyundai’s Pakistan Twitter handle post.

South Korean auto major Hyundai has had a rough couple of days in India with #BoycottHyundai trending on Twitter over the weekend. A social media post by the car maker’s Pakistani unit set off the row by wading into the long-running border row between the two countries.

On Feb. 5, which Pakistan annually observes as Kashmir Solidarity Day, the Hyundai Pakistan Twitter handle tweeted: “Let us remember the sacrifices of our Kashmiri brothers and stand in support as they continue to struggle for freedom.”

The tweet prompted Indian Twitter users to trend #BoycottHyundai, with some questioning the need for a global brand to meddle in politics.

Why Indians were offended by Hyundai’s tweet?

Kashmir is a sensitive issue for both India and Pakistan.

While India has often emphasised that it is an integral part of the country Pakistan claims it is disputed and seeks full control of it. Both New Delhi and Islamabad, however, control parts of the erstwhile princely state as Indian-administered Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.

India and Pakistan have, since their independence in 1947, gone to war multiple times over Kashmir.

Where Hyundai stands with its Kashmir tweet now?

Following the uproar, Hyundai Pakistan, whose India unit is the country’s second-largest carmaker, has deleted the tweet and issued a statement.

However, the damage may have been done already.