Bilateral Relations
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India and Venezuela have always enjoyed cordial relations. There is a similarity of views on major international, political and economic issues. Besides actively promoting bilateral relations, the two countries cooperate in multilateral forums. The 50th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations was celebrated in 2009. Resident Embassies have been in Caracas and New Delhi for over four decades. Venezuela has emerged as India’s third largest oil supplier.

Political
The main thrust to the bilateral relationship was imparted by former President Hugo Chavez´s State Visit to India on 4-7 March 2005. He held bilateral talks with former Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and former President of India, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam. Six Agreements/MoUs were signed, including on setting up of a Joint Commission and cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector.

Former Foreign Minister of Venezuela Mr. Nicolas Maduro Moros (now President), visited India to attend the First Meeting of the India-CELAC Troika Foreign Ministers held in New Delhi on 7 August 2012. India was led by former External Affairs Minister (EAM) Shri S.M. Krishna. Mr. Maduro also held bilateral talks with EAM and Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas.

Shri V.S. Sampath, former Chief Election Commissioner of India visited Caracas from 27 August to 1 September 2012 to attend an International Seminar on “Innovation and Technological Vanguard: Automated Voting Systems”. The Election Commission of India (ECI) and the National Electoral Council (CNE) of Venezuela signed an MoU during the visit. The President of CNE visited India in January 2010 to attend the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations of ECI and again in 2011.

The President and the Prime Minister of India condoled the passing away of President Hugo Chavez on 5 March 2013. Shri Sachin Pilot, former Minister of State for Corporate Affairs, represented India at the State funeral of President Chavez. Shri Pilot paid his condolences to President Chavez’s mother, Mrs. Elena Frias de Chavez and to Acting President, Mr. Nicolas Maduro.

External Affairs Minister Smt. Sushma Swaraj met former Executive Vice President Mr. Jorge Arreaza on 22 April 2015 on the sidelines of Asia Africa Summit 2015 in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen. (Dr.) V. K. Singh visited Caracas on 24-25 May 2015. He held meetings with former Vice President Mr. Jorge Arreaza, Foreign Minister Dr. Delcy Rodriguez, former Oil and Mining Minister Mr. Asdrubal Chavez, and President of Venezuela’s national oil company, PDVSA Mr. Eulogio Del Pino.

External Affairs Minister, Smt. Sushma Swaraj had a pull aside with Foreign Minister Dr. Delcy Rodriguez in New York on 30 September 2015 on the sidelines of UNGA session.

Commercial
An MoU on the establishment of an Indo-Venezuelan Joint Commission was signed during President Chavez’s visit to India in 2005. Shri Rao Inderjit Singh, former Minister of State (External Affairs) led the Indian delegation for the first session of the Joint Commission in August 2005 in Caracas. The 2nd JCM, led by Shri Salman Khurshid, former EAM and Mr. Elias Jaua, former Foreign Minister of Venezuela was held in Delhi on 20 December 2013. 9 Vice Ministers of Venezuela dealing with Petrochemicals, External Trade, Agriculture, Food, Health, Air and Water Transport, Telecommunications, IT & Postal Services, Culture and Education accompanied Mr. Jaua.

Shri Murli Deora, former Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas visited Venezuela in May 2010 to witness the signing ceremony of the Carabobo oil project. During Shri Deora’s call on former President Chavez, the latter agreed to supply more crude oil to India.

Shri Jyotiraditya Scindia, former Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, along with a 20-member CII business delegation paid an official visit to Venezuela on 8-9 July 2012. He held bilateral talks with the Venezuelan Trade Minister, Health Minister, Vice Foreign Minister and Vice President of PDVSA.

Mr. Rafael Ramirez, former Minister of Petroleum and Mining and President of PDVSA visited India and held wide-ranging talks with formerPetroleum and Natural Gas Minister Mr. Veerappa Moily on 24 September 2013.

PDVSA President, Mr. Eulogio Del Pino visited India on 15-16 June 2015. He met Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan and Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen. (Dr.) V.K. Singh.

Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Petroleum and Natural Gas, ShriDharmendra Pradhan met formerOil and Mining Minister Mr. Asdrubal Chavez on 4 June 2015 in Vienna.

The main items of India’s exports are metal and metal products, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, textiles, calcined petroleum coke (CPC), engineering products such as scooters, equipment and machinery. The Indian pharma industry has already made a mark and some reputed companies (Sun Pharma, Dr. Reddy’s, Glenmark, Claris, Cipla) are operating in Venezuela.

The main items of India’s imports from Venezuela are crude oil, iron and steel, ores, slags and ash, aluminum and articles thereof.

The bilateral trade figures for the past four years are as below:

(in million US$)


2012

2013

2014

2014-15

2015-16

(Apr-Sep)

India’s Exports to Venezuela (CIF US$)

355.365

352.720

245.60

258.07

125.49

Venezuela’s Exports to India (non-oil) (FOB US$)

4.162

2.907

33.60

60.75

22.33


2011-12

2012-13

2013-14

2014-15

2015-16

(Apr-Sep)

India’s oil Imports from Venezuela

6653.12

14105.91

13936.59

11669.14

5251.75


Source: Venezuelan National Institute of Statistics & Export-Import Data Bank, Ministry of Commerce & Industry, Government of India.


OVL and CVP (subsidiary of PDVSA) have a Joint Venture called “Petrolera IndoVenezolana SA” for production and exploration of oil in the San Cristobal field in which OVL has a 40% stake while PDVSA has the remaining 60% share. OVL’s investment in the San Cristobal project is around US$ 200 million.

An international consortium comprising of ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Oil India Ltd. (OIL), Repsol of Spain and Petronas of Malaysia were declared the winners of an international bidding process to develop a multi-billion dollar integrated onshore Carabobo oil project in the Orinoco belt of Venezuela. The "First Oil" from PetroCarabobo S.A. Project was produced on 27 December 2012.

Culture
There is a great deal of interest and appreciation for Indian art and culture in Venezuela. Performances of Indian dance and music troupes are regularly sponsored through ICCR. Venezuelan electronic and print media have been screening/ publishing documentaries/ programmes and stories on India. There are centres of Sai Baba, Brahma Kumaris, Radha Swami, ISKON and several yoga centres. Ayurveda is becoming popular.

The first International Day of Yoga (IDY)was celebrated on 21 June 2015 and was attended by nearly 1000 participants. The IDY event in Merida was organized in association with the University of Los Andes wherein 760 persons participated. A 3-day Holi festival, was organized during 18-21 March 2016. The festival showcased different aspects of Indian culture such as classical dances, yoga, gastronomy, etc. The event culminated with the celebration of holi with colours by thousands of participants. 

The Embassy was instrumental in starting a Catedra Libre (India Chair/Study Centres) in the University of Los Andes (ULA) in Merida in 2006 and in the Central University of Venezuela (UCV) in Caracas in 2010. ULA has entered into a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding with JNU and Delhi University. Dr. B.R Ambedkar Study Centre was opened in Santa Maria University, Caracas on 14 April 2016.

Venezuelan experts are sent to India every year under ITEC programme.

Indian Community
There are about 50 Indian families in Venezuela, of which about 35 are in Caracas. The Indian Association of Venezuela, which was revived in 2003, organizes Indian festivals like Diwali, Holi, etc in which members of Indian community and friends of India participate.

Useful Resources
Embassy of India, Caracas website:www.embindia.org

Embassy of India, Caracas Facebook: www.facebook.com/IndiaInVenezuela

Embassy of India, Caracas Twitter: https://twitter.com/IndiaVenezuela

Embassy of India, Caracas Flickr: www.flickr.com/photos/136124907@N03/

Embassy of Venezuela, New Delhi: www.embaveneindia.com




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