CEO Confidential

Venezuela-India Blend: Its role in ISA and 2018 Agendas with India

Venezuela and India have friendly relations. Even on bilateral and multilateral scenarios, both the countries have maintained cordial relationships with each other ever since the diplomatic relations between the two established on 1st October 1959. Their relation is based on the principles of Friendship, Cooperation, Solidarity, and Development.

Hugo Chavez’s visit to New Delhi in 2005 was of great importance which marked a political thrust in Venezuela-India relations. During his visit, six agreements were signed between the two countries, including one to establish a Joint Commission to promote bilateral cooperation and another on participation in the hydrocarbon sector. Another signification step was of MoU granting ONGC Videsh Ltd rights for oil and gas exploration in Venezuela. President Nicolas Maduro (then Foreign Minister) visited India in 2012 to attend the First Meeting of India-CELAC Troika Foreign Ministers meeting.

In defiance of the economic damage executed by Venezuela’s northern neighbors (the United States), India and Venezuela have kept up their oil relations. Venezuela has the largest oil reserves in the world and India is one of the largest buyers of Venezuelan crude oil.

Recent Developments 

On November 3rd, 2017, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Areazza signed the International Solar Alliance Framework Agreement. On November 6th, 2017, Ambassador of Venezuela to India Augusto Montiel formally presented the signed Framework Agreement to Mr. K. Nagaraj Naidu in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India, becoming the 44th country joining the ISA.

Following this, On March 11th, 2018, Areazza visited New Delhi for the First International Solar alliance Summit which was co-hosted by India and France. Till now only five countries from the Latin America & Caribbean region have signed and ratified the ISA and Venezuela is one of them. International Solar Alliance (ISA), spearheaded by India and supported by France in November 2015, within the framework of the Paris Climate Summit, is an international organization that brings together countries rich in solar resources. The goal of the International Solar Alliance is to provide a dedicated platform for cooperation among solar resource-rich countries where the global community, including bilateral and multilateral organisations, corporates, industry, and other stakeholders, can make a positive contribution to assist and help achieve the common goals of increasing the use of solar energy in meeting energy needs of prospective ISA member countries in a safe, convenient, affordable, equitable and sustainable manner.

Arreaza, who led the delegation, was accompanied by the head of the Ministry of Oil and Mining Popular Power, Vielma Mora, and the Ministry of Foreign Trade and  Investment, Manuel Quevedo. The Venezuelan delegation held a number of meetings with the Indian Chamber of Commerce in order to bring investment to Venezuela and strengthen the 15 Economic Drivers that President Maduro is promoting. The Venezuelan Foreign Minister also took the ISA summit as an opportunity to strengthen their strategic commercial alliance with India along with key goals aiming at making solar energy available at affordable price, creating solar grids and establishing solar credit mechanisms.

Why ISA?

Venezuela´s six-year National Development Plan (2013-2019) has a specific objective regarding the use of alternative and renewable energy sources. The objective calls for the signing of political and economic alliances with favorable geo-strategic countries whose interests converge with Venezuela’s, for the construction of a multipolar world.

2018 Goals for Venezuela and India

India’s exports to Latin America have been increasing rapidly. India’s trade with Latin America has jumped over 15 times in the last 15 years to reach over USD 35 billion. Both India and Venezuela collaborate in many bilateral and multilateral platforms.  In the year 2012-13, Venezuela was India’s largest trading partner in Latin America with the Total Trade of US$ 14,351.81.

Future Bilateral Agenda of Venezuela with India:

Venezuela and India have agreed to design a strategic commercial alliance with each other,

Venezuela also looks forward to trade with India using the Indian Rupees instead of US dollars in terms of oil and other goods such as medicines, technology, and food by opening accounts in banks in India. The South American country wants to conduct transactions with the Indian Government and Business sector using India’s national currency, (the INR). The reason behind this the US financial sanctions on Venezuela. Venezuela views these sanctions as aggressions by the US and believes that the intention of these aggressions is the cause instability, distress and eventually chaos amongst Venezuelan population with the clear aim of attaining the ousting of the government and ultimately seizing the increasingly amount of natural resources that are continuously being found in the Venezuelan territory.

Despite the crises back home, Venezuela (PDVSA) and India (ONGC) plan to continue their joint investments in the field of Energy Sector.

In the Agricultural sector, Venezuela is keen to have Indian Agriculture Agencies to technology them to pursue its agricultural cooperation with India.

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met with Foreign Minister of Venezuela Jorge Arreaza on the sidelines of NAM Ministerial Meeting in Baku, Azerbaijan on April 5th, 2018.  The two leaders exchanged views on strengthening bilateral relations, especially in trade & investment, agriculture, pharma and people-to-people ties and also discussed issues of mutual interests such as capacity building, development assistance, and cooperation in multilateral fora.

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Pankhury Harbansh
An opinionated guest columnist at the CEOWORLD magazine. Pursuing a Master's degree at School of International Studies - Jawaharlal Nehru University. Pankhury is an expert on international relations, public justice, and human rights.
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