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India In-Focus — Shares buck a broader downturn; probe underway in Tata Motors EV fire incident

MUMBAI: Indian shares bucked a broader downturn on Thursday as weak metal and oil prices drove beaten-down automakers to their best day since April 2020.

The NSE Nifty 50 index rose 0.93 percent to 15,556.65, while the S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.86 percent to 52,265.72.

The indexes have added around 1.7 percent so far this week, after two consecutive weeks of decline fueled by concerns over interest rate hikes and growth.

Tata Motors EV fire incident

India has ordered an investigation into a fire incident involving a Tata Motors’ electric vehicle, a government official said on Thursday, after the automaker described it as an “isolated thermal incident.”

A video on social media, which has gone viral, showed one of the company’s electric cars engulfed in flames. The video showed firefighters trying to extinguish the fire in a Nexon model electric vehicle in a suburb of Mumbai. 

Defense Research and Development Organization, a government agency, will lead the investigation, the official said.

“A detailed investigation is currently being conducted to ascertain the facts of the recent isolated thermal incident that is doing the rounds on social media. We will share a detailed response after our complete investigation,” India’s biggest manufacturer of electric cars said in a statement.

The company said this was the first such incident, having sold more than 30,000 EVs, the bulk of which are its Nexon model.

The incident follows a spate of e-scooter fires that have triggered an investigation by the Indian government.

India to support Lanka

India’s top diplomat held talks with Sri Lanka’s president and prime minister on Thursday as India signaled its willingness to go beyond the $4 billion in loans, swaps and aid that it has already provided its cash-strapped neighbor.

Sri Lanka is facing its worst economic crisis in seven decades, with a severe foreign exchange shortage hampering the import of essentials, including food, fuel and medicines.

The island nation off the tip of southern India needs about $5 billion in the next six months to cover basic necessities for its 22 million people, who have been struggling with long queues for basic items, worsening shortages and power cuts.

Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, accompanied by other officials, held talks with President Gotabaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on providing further financial assistance to the country, the president’s office said in a statement.

“Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra has said that the government of India will extend its fullest support to Sri Lanka in overcoming the current difficult situation as a close friend,” the statement said.

“The Indian delegation stated that the government of India and the political authorities are committed to provide continued support to Sri Lanka,” it added.


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