Union finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during her ongoing visit to the U.S., met with various global organisations and government representatives on Tuesday. In her meeting with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on the sidelines of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings 2023 in Washington DC, the FM discussed strengthening the India-U.S. economic and financial partnership and increasing ties at bilateral and multilateral forums.

The two leaders took the discussions ahead from their last meeting during the Economic Financial Dialogue in India in November 2022.

Sitharaman called for further cooperation in addressing global economic challenges, including climate change. She also highlighted the role of G-20, QUAD and IPEF in fostering these ties.

The finance minister also emphasised the importance of coordinated global action to address debt vulnerability in low and middle-income countries, besides the need for financial support to help developing economies achieve climate goals.

Sitharaman in her meeting with former US commerce secretary Penny Pritzker talked about digital public infrastructure, providing accessibility for all, including startups, besides supporting the growth of the fintech industry. The FM said that in the space of manufacturing, India has the right kind of skills, including manpower and language proficiency, along with a huge domestic market, which provides a significant scaling advantage to the private sector.

Talking about the Union Budget 2023-24, Sitharaman said India has announced the setting up of three centres of excellence in artificial intelligence as it is a key focus for the government.

Participating in a roundtable on "Investing in the India Decade", organised by FICCI and USISPF, Sitharaman underlined the reality of a global acknowledgement of 'New India' and the renewed role the country is poised to play in the global economic order, besides India as an investment destination going forward into Amrit Kaal.

She said India is adapting at twice the rate at which technology and digitisation tools are being adopted by people around the world, effectively making their life far easier. The FM said local languages are being onboarded in the country's digitisation drive as most of the Constitutional languages now have access to India’s Digital Public Infrastructure platform, increasing reach, creating impact and exploring potential.

The FM also visited NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where she was given presentations about various activities at the space centre. Notably, NASA’s GSFC Hyperwall is a video wall capable of displaying multiple high-definition data visualisations and images simultaneously across an arrangement of screens. The hyper-wall is used to help explain phenomena, ideas, or examples of world change.

During her meeting with Gita Gopinath, FDMD, IMF, the FM noted IMF’s concerns on key downside risks to the economy, including financial sector stress, rising real interest rates, elevated debt, inflation, geo-political fragmentation, and faltering growth in China, as highlighted in World Economic Outlook.

The FM also met the Minister of Finance, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and talked about the World Bank Evolution Roadmap and the Expert Group on Strengthening the Multilateral Development Banks constituted by the G20India Presidency.

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