Elon Musk to visit India for meeting with PM Modi

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - SINGAPORE — Elon Musk has announced on his social media platform X, formerly Twitter, that he will visit India to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi without giving a date.

The Tesla boss is expected to announce major investment plans in the country soon.

Last month, India cut import taxes on electric vehicles (EV) for global carmakers which commit to investing $500m (£399m) and starting local production within three years.

In 2021, the Tesla boss said that India's high import duties had prevented the firm from launching its cars in the world's fastest-growing major economy.

Musk wrote in a post on Wednesday: "Looking forward to meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India!"

A senior Indian government official told the BBC that the meeting is scheduled for the last week of April and will take place at Modi’s official residence in New Delhi.

The BBC understands that Tesla’s plans for starting manufacturing in India will feature in the talks.

Tesla did not immediately respond to a BBC request for comment.

Musk's visit comes just as the country begins voting in marathon, six-week-long elections on 19 April.

Modi's Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is widely expected to win a third term in power.

A Tesla investment announcement during the election would bolster the business-friendly credentials of Modi, who has courted foreign companies to set up manufacturing operations in India and create jobs.

The two men met last June in New York when the technology multi-billionaire said Modi had been "pushing us to make significant investments in India, which is something that we intend to do".

Tesla's plans to move into India comes at a time when the company is battling weakening sales in the US and China.

Deliveries slid sharply in the first three months of this year as Tesla grappled with a fire at its European factory, global shipping disruption and growing competition.

Tesla has cut prices repeatedly in response to increased competition from rivals such as BYD but demand in key markets like China has fallen.

Tesla's shares have lost almost a third of their value since the start of this year.

India overtook the UK in 2022 to become the world's fifth-largest economy, and grew by 8.4% in the December quarter, helped by a surging manufacturing sector. — BBC

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