Elon Musk, who has just bought Twitter for US$44 billion, will have to manufacture his Tesla cars in India, and not China, if he wants to come and sell the vehicles in the country, union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said here on Tuesday.
Reiterating that Mr Musk will not get any special treatment when it comes to customs duties, Mr Gadkari said during the 'Raisina Dialogue 2022' that if Mr Musk wants to manufacture in China and sell Tesla cars here, "it cannot be a good proposition for India."
"Our request to him is to come to India and manufacture here. We have no problems. The vendors are available, we offer all kinds of technology and because of that, Musk can reduce the cost.
"India is a huge market and offers good export opportunities too. Mr Musk can export Tesla cars from India," he added.
In February also, Mr Gadkari had said that Musk has to manufacture in India first in order to roll out Tesla cars on the roads.
"Now his (Musk's) interest is to manufacture the Tesla car in China and make it sell in India. So, if you start here, you are welcome, no problem. But manufacturing in China and selling in India is not a digestible concept to all of us," he noted.
Asked about Tesla's demand to cut customs duties on electric cars, Gadkari said that the country cannot appease one automobile company.
"India is a huge market. We have all the world's automobile giants—BMW, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, Honda, Hyundai—present here. If we give one benefit to one company, we have to give that benefit to other companies also. That is the practical problem," he elaborated.
Mr Musk had tweeted that he faced challenges from the government for releasing its products in India. "Tesla isn't in India yet due to challenges with the government," he posted.
The government has questioned Tesla's business practices of seeking tax-breaks to use the Indian market to sell its products, but not wanting to set up manufacturing facilities in the country which can generate thousands of jobs.
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