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Elon Musk Hints at ‘Significant Investment’ in India After Meeting Modi

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk has signaled interest in making a “significant investment” in the world’s most populous country, India, after meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York on Tuesday.

Musk told reporters that he had an “excellent conversation” with Modi and suggested that he would bring his electric vehicle manufacturing business to India, but did not provide further details.

“I’m confident that Tesla will be in India, and we’ll do so as soon as humanly possible,” Musk told reporters after the meeting, according to a video published by Indian news agency ANI on Twitter.

“We do not want to jump the gun on an announcement, but I think it’s quite likely that there will be a significant investment, a relationship with India,” he added. Musk also announced his plan to visit India next year.

Modi, who was on a four-day visit to the United States, invited Musk to explore opportunities in India for investments in electric mobility and expand the commercial space sector, according to his office.

His office stated that Modi appreciated Musk’s efforts “at making technology accessible and affordable in various sectors.”

Musk said that he sees India’s potential for a sustainable energy future, including solar power, stationary battery packs, and electric vehicles. He also aims to bring SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service to India.

The electric carmaker’s renewed interest in India comes nearly a year after it put on hold plans to sell cars in the country after failing to secure lower import taxes, which Musk said are among the highest in the world.

India is the world’s third-largest automobile market. Modi’s administration has set an ambitious target of having electric vehicles account for 30 percent of India’s total car sales by 2030.

US Seeks Stronger Ties With India

Modi’s visit came amid an ongoing rivalry between the United States and China in the Indo-Pacific. India recently surpassed China as the world’s most populous country, indicating a potential shift in their global status.

National Security Council spokesman John Kirby emphasized that Modi’s visit to the United States was not intended to counter China’s influence, but rather to boost bilateral relations with India.

“It’s not about forcing or coercing or trying to convince Prime Minister Modi or the Indian government to do something different. It’s about focusing on where we are in this relationship and making it more important, more robust, more cooperative going forward,” Kirby said.

U.S. congressional leaders have also invited Modi to address a joint meeting, which they said would allow Modi to share his vision for India’s future and “speak to the global challenges our countries both face.”

This would be Modi’s second address to a joint session of the U.S. legislature, following his 2016 address, a rare honor for a leader once denied a visa to enter the United States over human rights concerns.

“We look forward to paving the way for greater collaboration between our countries in the years to come,” they said in a letter signed by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), and House Democratic Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.).

Reuters contributed to this report.

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