Venezuela looks to India for support to tide over economic crisis

18 May 2016

Faced with a financial crisis brought about by a fall in oil prices and international pressure over its socialist economy, especially from the United State, Venezuela has sought support from friendly countries like India to help it tide over the current economic crisis.

The fall in oil prices has triggered triple-digit inflation and a full-blown political and financial crisis in Venezuela's socialist economy.

Unable to pay its bills, the country is facing severe shortages of even basic supplies such as food, water and medicines.

Speaking to The Pioneer, Venezuela's Ambassador to India Augusto Montiel said they are looking at expanding relations with India to a higher level of cooperation. Already four Indian pharmaceutical companies - Claris Injectible, Glenmark, Sun Pharma and Dr Reddy's  are helping Venezuela tide over its medicine shortage as the country medical sector is plagued with acute shortage. Dr Reddy's recently signed an agreement for production of medicines in Venezuela and will be the first Indian pharma company to set up plant there.

Venezuela is a major source of crude oil for India, which is its world's third largest importer after United States of America and China. Four Indian companies ONGC Videsh, Indian Oil Corporation, Oil India and Reliance have invested heavily in Venezuelan oil fields.

''We are also exploring business in cement, sugar and processed food. Besides we are studying the Indian concept of cooperatives particularly in milk production,'' Montiel said.

As the chair of Non-Aligned Movement, Venezuela will host the Summit in September which several world leaders including from India are expected to attend.

Talking about the economic crisis, the envoy blamed US and its allies for pushing Venezuela into present situation. ''There is no economic crisis in Venezuela but a political crisis created by US led countries which are creating artificial shortages, scarcity and inflation in the country. All our supplies are being stolen at borders to create a crisis in Venezuela…Our economic crisis is like in Spain, Greece, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. Does this give a reason to outside countries to intervene in our internal matter?'' the ambassador said.

Venezuela under President Nicolas Maduro blames US of destabilising the country and plotting a coup against its leadership while the US has declared a national emergency over Venezuela's impact on national security and said the country is on the verge of collapse.

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