India maintains oil trade with key supplier Venezuela despite crisis

India continues to trade with Venezuela, a key crude oil supplier, despite the ongoing crisis in Venezuela, India’s Financial Express reports.

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guaidó, the president of the National Assembly, declared himself interim president on Wednesday, and the United States supported him against Nicolas Maduro, whom the U.S. Administration declared an “usurper” with no legitimacy to the presidency.

Maduro, in turn, severed diplomatic ties with the U.S. on Wednesday and gave U.S. diplomats in Venezuela 72 hours to leave the country.

India continues to be one of the main buyers of Venezuelan crude oil, diplomatic sources told the Financial Express. Indian refiners keep buying more than 400,000 bpd of oil from the troubled Latin American country, which is sitting on the world’s largest crude oil resources.

In recent months, Venezuela has been the fourth largest supplier of crude oil to India, after Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

According to Financial Express, India imported crude oil from Venezuela worth US$5.8 billion in the 2017-2018 financial year, while imports between April and October 2018 were valued at US$4.6 billion.

Amid the ongoing political crisis in Venezuela, India is staying away from recognizing the Venezuelan opposition leader as president.

“We are closely following the emerging situation in Venezuela. We are of the view that it is for the people of Venezuela to find political solution to resolve their differences through constructive dialogue and discussion without resorting to violence,” the official spokesperson of India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement last week, in response to queries on the situation in Venezuela.

“We believe democracy, peace and security in Venezuela are of paramount importance for the progress and prosperity of the people of Venezuela. India and Venezuela enjoy close and cordial relations,” India’s foreign ministry said.

Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin held a telephone conversation with Nicolas Maduro, backing him as the official president of Venezuela.

Shekhar Ghosh is consulting editor, Indoasiancommodities.com. He has edited and written for publications like Business India, Business Standard, Business Today, Outlook and many other international publications. He can be reached at shekhar.ghosh@indoasiancommodities.in.

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