New Delhi: After the United States imposed new sanctions on Venezuela earlier this month, the Trump administration has now urged India to stop purchasing the recession-stricken country's oil, a vital source of revenue for President Nicolas Maduro's government. In a move aimed at piling more pressure on Maduro to stand down, the US has given other governments around the world the same message, Elliott Abrams, Washington's top envoy for Venezuela, said.
The government also conveyed a similar message to private companies and overseas banks doing business with Maduro. "We say you should not be helping this regime, you should be on the side of the Venezuelan people," Abrams told Reuters, while describing the US approach as "arguing, cajoling, urging."
The US and its regional allies, who view Venezuelan Opposition leader Juan Guaido as the legitimate leader, have threatened to impose further sanctions to cut off revenue to Maduro's government and make him resign from his post. Washington has already announced asset freezes and travel bans to the country while imposing sanctions on its oil sector.
With India historically being the second-largest cash-paying customer for Venezuela's crude, behind the US, India's market has been vital for the OPEC country's economy.
The United States, which is also pressing the Modi administration to stop buying oil from Iran, is considering ending its preferential trade treatment for India that permits duty-free entry for up to US$ 5.6 billion worth of its exports to the US.