Following media reports that Aamir Khan was dropped as an ambassador for the Indian Tourism Ministry's 'Incredible India' campaign, the Bollywood actor has issued a statement saying that he respects the government's decision to "discontinue" his services with them.
On 7 January Khan spoke out on the controversy, saying that whether he was the brand ambassador or not, he believed that India would always remain incredible. His comments came one day after much confusion as to whether the 50-year-old actor was still associated with the Incredible India campaign or not.
"I respect the decision of the government to discontinue with my services," said Khan. "It has been an honour and a pleasure for me to be the brand ambassador for the Incredible India campaign for the past 10 years. I was happy to be of service to my country, and will always be available for it."
Initial reports on 6 January speculated that Khan had been fired as a campaign ambassador due to comments made in November 2015 about rising intolerance in India. Khan suggested that he and his wife had discussed leaving the country, prompting widespread criticism. 'Incredible India' was trending on Twitter for several hours as people commended the decision to drop Khan from the campaign.
However, India's Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma then clarified that Khan's intolerance views had nothing to do with it and that he was no longer associated with the Incredible India campaign as his contract with the Tourism Ministry had expired.
Khan said: "It is the prerogative of the government to decide whether they need a brand ambassador for any campaign, and if so, who that ambassador should be. I am sure they will take all appropriate steps to do what is best for the country."
The term "Aamir Khan face of Incredible India" was trending on Twitter on 7 January as thousands discussed the Bollywood legend's departure from the tourism campaign. Many took to social media to praise the actor for his work over the last 10 years, with some saying that he had done more for India than many politicians had.