India-Venezuela Relations- A Case Study in Oil Diplomacy



Hari Seshasayee | The Wilson Center

The year is 2007. Iran is India’s second-largest source of oil imports, totaling 367,000 barrels per day (bpd).1 The country is a stone’s throw from India, so close that both territories shared a land border before India’s independence from the British realm. India’s imports from Venezuela are a paltry 28,000 bpd in comparison, not surprising since Caracas is about 10,000 miles from New Delhi.

Cut to 2013. India’s oil imports from Venezuela skyrocket to 441,000 bpd, accounting for 12 percent of the country’s total oil imports. Meanwhile, imports from Iran plummet to 200,000 bpd by year-end.2 Suddenly, Venezuela doesn’t seem so far away. In February 2019, India is poised to become Venezuela’s largest cash market for oil exports, amid recently announced US sanctions.