NEW DELHI, March 2 -- THE strong manufacturing sector expansion seen in India at the start of the year was maintained in February, with the growth rates for factory orders, exports and output dipping only marginally from January's highs, a private survey said.

At 54.5 in February, the headline seasonally adjusted IHS Markit India Manufacturing PMI held close to January's neareight- year high of 55.3.

This signalled robust improvement in operating conditions across sectors.

This is the 31st consecutive month that the manufacturing PMI has remained above the 50- point mark. A point above 50 means expansion, while one below that denotes contraction.

Manufacturing production increased at a similar pace to January's, as firms reacted positiv...