Venezuela’s Maduro is not likely to listen to any Western power on its planned annexation of Guyana territory it claims. But he may be inclined to listen to India or some other eastern power.
President Irfaan Ali and Vice President Jagdeo briefly met Indian PM Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the COP 28 in Dubai last week. The nature of the discussion or talk was not known. I am certain that our delegation raised the matter of Venezuela’s claim to our legitimate territory and sought India’s assistance to support our side. India has had a history of warm, friendly relations with Venezuela that at one time hosted the Non Aligned Movement summit that India helped to found. With the right nudge, India could help to get Venezuela to tone down rhetoric and actions on the other side of the border.
India has significant influence on Miraflores. India has provided symbolic support to the Chavez and Maduro regimes at international forums and engaged in healthy trade. Left wing parties in India consistently supported Maduro and Chavez. In addition, India has sent foreign aid to Venezuela.
Prior to economic sanctions, India used to purchase significant amounts of Venezuelan oil a decade ago. Since the lifting of sanctions a couple weeks ago, India signed contract to purchase 1.7 millions of barrels of oil per day over an extended period, the most by any purchaser of Venezuelan oil; it is a long term contract. Such trade relations involving massive amounts of money carry heavy influence. India will be willing to assist us with regards to Venezuela never mind we have not made our oil available to it.
One recalls a couple years ago, India begged to purchase Guyana lifts of oil at market price and without Guyana having to pay a commission to sellers or middlemen. Only one lift of one million barrels was sold to India with other lifts sold by Middle Eastern and other middle men to other nations. India was disappointed but not upset that it could not access more Guyana oil. It is now purchasing three times from Venezuela what Guyana produces in a day but can still buy more if Guyana is willing to sell its oil. India still assists us financially.
India stood by our side for over seventy years, long before independence, providing all kinds of developmental and technological assistance as well as loans. India has remained the largest development aid donor to Guyana on a per capita basis over the last few decades. It will continue to assist us.
Today, Guyana needs India for more than for loans and technical assistance. Our survival as a nation is at stake. Guyana needs India’s good office on Venezuela‘a claim to our territory.
Our government should mount an intense lobby of India to use its soft power influence over Venezuela to respect international law on border disputes and the recent World Court advisory on its claim to Guyana’s territory.