Elon Musk meets Modi and says Tesla is looking to invest in India

Electric car maker's chief executive held talks with the Prime Minister during his visit to the US

Tesla chief executive Elon Musk said the electric car maker is optimistic about India but is trying to figure out the right time to invest. AFP
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Electric car maker Tesla is looking to invest in India soon, its chief executive Elon Musk has said.

His remarks came after a meeting in New York with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is on a state visit to the US, on Tuesday.

A source previously said Mr Musk would brief Mr Modi on plans to set up a manufacturing base in India.

“I am confident that Tesla will be in India and will do so as soon as humanly possible,” Mr Musk said when asked by reporters about the electric car maker's plans to invest in India, adding that he intended to visit the country next year.

“I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his support and hopefully we'll be able to announce something in the not too distant future.”

Mr Musk said he was “a fan” of Mr Modi and noted that he visited a Tesla factory in California several years ago, according to video from Indian broadcaster ANI on Twitter.

“India has more promise than any large country in the world. He [Mr Modi] really cares about India because he's pushing us to make significant investments in India, which is something we intend to do. We are just trying to figure out the right timing,” Mr Musk said.

India has strong potential for a sustainable energy future including solar power, stationary battery packs and electric vehicles, he said.

Mr Musk, also chief executive of SpaceX, said it hopes to bring the company's Starlink satellite internet service to India as well.

Tesla executives visited India and held talks with ministers and officials last month on establishing a manufacturing base for cars and batteries in India.

Mr Musk said last month that the electric car maker 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.

US companies need to reduce their reliance on China as a manufacturing base in the face of tension between Washington and Beijing. Tesla last year shelved its India entry plans due to high import tax structures.

Mr Modi's meeting with Mr Musk, who owns Twitter, came 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 called the allegation an “outright lie”.

Mr Musk has not commented on the episode, which caused a political storm in India.

Updated: June 21, 2023, 3:54 AM