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    Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addresses the media after the interim budget on February 1, 2024 in New Delhi, India. 

    Hindustan Times | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

    India’s Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said Friday the country’s exports remained strong despite slowing global demand, explaining that these economic issues will be a key focus ahead of the upcoming General Election.

    Sitharaman told CNBC’s Sri Jegarajah in an exclusive interview that “despite the challenges of slowing demand elsewhere, particularly in Europe, our exports have grown and are consistently are remaining in a growing path.”

    She noted that exports from India were branching out into newer areas of trade such as Latin America, namely Brazil and parts of Africa.

    “Newer areas of innovation and new areas of manufacturing have created a buzz about India’s capacities … So a lot of new people are accessing India,” Sitharaman said, while touting that India was able to showcase its digital public infrastructure at the G20 summit it hosted in New Delhi last year.

    India’s exports were previously expected to touch $900 billion in the current financial year, a rise from $770 billion in the previous year — a rare bright spot among G20 nations. However, reports suggest that recent tensions in the Red Sea could shave $30 billion off that figure. No official figures are currently available.

    The focus will now shift toward India’s General Election in the next quarter, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government, riding high in the polls, will try to hold on to power for an unprecedented third straight term.

    Sitharaman, when asked about what economic issues will define the vote, said “if economic issues are to dominate the election, it would be the recipients of the beneficiaries themselves coming out to say, ‘I’m empowered now’.”

    “If anything, for us it will be performance on the economic issues, good performance, inclusive growth that we’ve offered.”

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