New Delhi, Jan 19: Bollywood actor Aamir Khan's exit as the brand ambassador of the Incredible India campaign was on Monday defended by department of industrial policy and promotion (DIPP) secretary Amitabh Kant.
According to a TOI report, Kant, a key driver of the Incredible India campaign said the actor had damaged the brand identity of the country with his remarks on intolerance.
"He is damaging the brand identity of the country. People will not come to India after hearing him. An ambassador has to promote the brand, not destroy the brand. The brand ambassador must be the best brand
ambassador for promoting India, he cannot be the destroyer of the brand," Kant further added.
Aamir Khan, whose comments on perceived intolerance in the country had created a controversy, ceased to be the mascot for governments Incredible India campaign as the contract for it has expired.
"Our contract was with the McCann Worldwide agency for Atithi Devo Bhava campaign. The agency had hired Aamir for the job. Now the contract with the agency is over. Ministry has not hired Aamir.
"It was the agency which has hired him. Since the contract with the agency is no more, automatically the arrangement with the actor no longer exists," Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma had earlier said.
Asked specifically whether Aamir is still Tourism Ministrys brand ambassador, the minister said, "Definitely not".
Atithi Devo Bhava campaign, part of the Incredible India campaign was launched during the UPA regime.
Earlier, the ministry issued a vague statement in response to certain news reports following governments answer to a RTI query on the issue.
"In response to certain news reports appearing in the media, about Aamir Khan, the Ministry of Tourism clarifies that there is no change in the stand of the ministry in this matter.
"The Ministry further clarifies that at present it has a contractual agreement with creative agency McCann Worldwide to produce social awareness campaign and the said campaign featured Aamir Khan," the ministry statement said.
Two months ago, Aamir had made controversial comments on perceived intolerance in the country for which he was criticised by many senior Union ministers.