Venezuela's President, Nicolas Maduro, will visit India in March to attend the International Solar Alliance Summit (ISA). The two-day summit, which is being hosted by India for the first time, will start on March 10.
"Prime Minister Modi has invited President Maduro for the ISA next month. Besides the ISA, the agenda for the discussions between the two leaders are in the process of being finalized,” the Financial Express has reported.
United States president Donald Trump's diplomatic ties with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi hasn't deterred the South Asian country from welcoming the Venezuelan president who'll be visiting India for two days, before heading to Indonesia.
ISA is a treaty-based international inter-governmental alliance comprising of 121 solar resource-rich countries lying wholly or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, covering a majority of the African continent, parts of the South American continent, and countries like India, China, Myanmar, Omen, Bangladesh, and Australia.
India is also one of the largest buyers of Venezuelan crude oil.
"In view of the large and growing refining capacity in India, firms such as IOCL (Indian Oil Corporation) are ready to procure crude from Venezuela. This would be a possibility in future when production of Venezuelan crude increases,” a source told the Financial Express.
“The other oil JV in Venezuela with the participation of Indian firms (OVL, IOCL, and Oil India) is expected to do better as infrastructure in the area develops and the economic situation in Venezuela improves,” the source added.
In 2017, due to United States-imposed sanctions, Venezuela defaulted on its debt payment to India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation. Reliance Industries Ltd (RELI.NS), a private Indian company which owns the world’s largest refining complex and one of PDVSA’s (Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A) biggest oil buyers, stepped in and paid the US$68.66 million to Oil and Natural Gas Corporation on behalf of PDVSA in April, according to Reuters.
The Indian and Venezuelan governments have signed several cooperation agreements on hydrocarbons in the past. The first came in 2005, when Hugo Chavez, then leader of the Bolivarian revolution visited India to sign a bilateral agreement.
In the same year, the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding and established the Indo-Venezuelan Joint Commission (JCM), which decided that India's state-run Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) will be given opportunities to explore oil and gas in the South American country, including a massive oil field in the Orinoco belt.
In April 2008, another joint venture was signed, "Petrolera IndoVenezolana SA" between the two countries state-run oil companies, PDVSA and ONGC Videsh, or OVL, for production and exploration of oil reserves in the San Cristobal field, in which India's OVL has a 40 percent stake while PDVSA has the remaining. OVL’s investments in the San Cristobal Project are around US$355.7 million.
India and Venezuela first established diplomatic ties in 1959, India maintains an embassy in the capital of the South American country, Caracas, while Venezuela maintains an embassy in New Delhi.