After Modi-Musk meeting, Tesla renews its India investment plans

Executives of the US automaker visited India and held talks with bureaucrats and ministers last month on setting up a manufacturing base for cars and making batteries

Tesla layoff

New York: Tesla, an American multinational automotive and energy company, has renewed its investment plans to set up a manufacturing unit in India.

Soon after his much-awaited meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tesla chief executive officer (CEO) Elon Musk said he had excellent and very good conversation with PM Modi regarding the company’s investment plans in India.

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“… had a “very good” conversation with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Lotte New York Palace in New York, and that the electric vehicles maker will try to be in India, as soon as humanly possible” Musk told the reporters, adding that he is planning to visit India next year.

Last month, Musk had said that Tesla would probably pick a location for a new factory by the end of this year, adding India was an interesting place for a new plant.

Tesla had last year shelved its plan to enter India due to high import tax structures, but renewed talks in recent weeks by sharing plans with Indian officials about a manufacturing base there, which India has long sought.

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Earlier, Musk had said that he would directly brief Modi on plans to set up a manufacturing base in India. Executives of the US automaker visited India and held talks with Indian bureaucrats and ministers last month on establishing a manufacturing base for cars as well as on making batteries in India.

“We have a very strong and comprehensive plans to set up manufacturing units and an integrated chain of charging stations in India,” said a senior executive of Tesla before the Musk-Modi meeting.

Since the Covid19 pandemic, many US companies including Tesla and Apple are facing challenges in reducing their dependence on China owing to continued tensions between Washington and Beijing.

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The Indian Prime Minister’s meeting with Musk, who owns Twitter, assumes greater significance as it comes days after Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey accused India of threatening to shut down the platform for not complying with content takedown orders during a 2020-2021 protest. India rejected allegation as an “outright lie”.

Talking to media after the meeting Musk said “I can say he (PM Modi) really wants to do the right things for India. He wants to be open, he wants to be supportive of new companies and make sure it accrues to India’s advantage… I’m tentatively planning to visit India again next year. I am looking forward. We’re hopefully looking forward to bringing Starlink to India as well. The Starlink Internet, which I think can be incredibly helpful for remote or rural villages in India”

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