Last Updated: April 12, 2023, 10:56 IST
Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX and owner of Twitter, has triggered a flurry of speculation after he followed Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the social media platform.
After Musk followed PM Modi, people have started speculating that Elon Musk might be planning to set up a Tesla factory in India or join the Indian EV market, a report in Firstpost said.
However, this isn’t the first time that speculations of Tesla entering the Indian EV market or the Musk’s company setting up a production line in the country have made rounds.
Elon Musk, the second richest person, was keen on entering the Indian EV market a few years ago but wanted some major tax breaks, the report said.
It’s no surprise that PM @narendramodi is one of the select few that @elonmusk follows on Twitter. Modi’s visionary leadership has propelled India to new heights, while Musk’s innovative ideas have changed the world. Let’s hope their Twitter friendship results in some… pic.twitter.com/C7tBcBY5nV— Ankit Bhuptani 🏳️🌈 (@CitizenAnkit) April 10, 2023
But the Indian government refused to give concessions on import taxes and duties that Tesla would incur on procuring parts for the EV from China.
With over 87.7 million followers, Modi is among the most followed global leaders on Twitter. Musk follows 193 accounts on Twitter and is the most followed personality on the platform with over 134 million followers.
Political leaders that Musk follows at present include Barack Obama, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Last year in May, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari said that if Elon Musk comes to India and makes Tesla cars here, then the company will also get benefits. Gadkari had reiterated that Musk will have to manufacture his Tesla cars in India, and not China, if he wants to come and sell the vehicles in the country.
However, Musk was adamant that he would first test the market in India by offering Tesla’s cars at a premium and only then he would think of setting up a factory. India then refused to entertain the Tesla founder’s demands.
The company has long sought reduced import tariffs on electric vehicles in India, pressing the government to drop tariff rates on high-end automobiles to 40 percent instead. But New Delhi has refused to provide the tax discounts, instead encouraging the automaker to produce vehicles locally.
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