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Elon Musk to place a bet on Indian space sector? SpaceX CEO to meet aerospace startups next week

During his upcoming visit to India next week, Elon Musk is set to meet leading Indian space startups, marking a significant development for the country’s burgeoning space industry.

According to a report by Business Standard, notable aerospace startups such as Skyroot Aerospace, Agnikul Cosmos, Bellatrix Aerospace, and Dhruva Space have confirmed receiving invitations from the government to meet with Musk in New Delhi on April 22.

This meeting should offer an insight into Musk’s plans to invest in Indian aerospace startups.

India’s strides in space exploration have garnered attention globally. Recent achievements include the successful landing of Chandrayaan-3 near the Moon’s south pole last year and plans for the country’s inaugural crewed Gaganyaan mission, set for 2025.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s administration has been proactive in facilitating policy reforms to allow private enterprises to participate significantly in the space sector. In February, the government approved regulations that would incentivize foreign investment in the manufacturing of rockets and satellites in India.

The main agenda of Musk’s visit to India revolves around SpaceX’s Starlink and Tesla’s entry into India. He will also be meeting PM Modi during his two-day visit.

Musk had previously indicated that he wanted Tesla to make a substantial investment in India, which coincided with the PM Modi-led government’s efforts to attract foreign companies that make EVs.

While Starlink established a wholly-owned subsidiary in India in 2021, its operational launch has been contingent upon securing government approvals. The DoT has given in-principal approval to Starlink’s proposal and is expediting obtaining all its clearances.

In tandem with Musk’s visit, the Ministry of Finance, headed by Nirmala Sitharaman, has unveiled new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) regulations tailored for the satellite sector within the Foreign Exchange Management Rules.

The objective is to foster increased investment from foreign entities in satellite-related endeavors. This initiative aligns with the recent approval by the Union Cabinet of a policy aimed at liberalizing foreign investments in the space sector.

Under the updated guidelines, foreign investors can inject up to 100 percent of FDI into the sector, with 74 percent falling under the automatic route. This encompasses investments in satellite manufacturing, operations, the ground segment, the user segment, and satellite data products, signaling a significant stride towards bolstering India’s presence in the global space arena.

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