This week Indian foreign minister Sushma Swaraj was interviewed by the reporters during a news conference about a Venezuelan trade deal involving crude oil and a reported discount of 30 percent contingent on the acquiring being made with the Venezuela’s state cryptocurrency - petro. The Indian foreign minister declared that the country has no plans to use the petro in buying oil, referring a directive from India’s central bank which does not admit trade using cryptocurrency.
We cannot have any trade in cryptocurrency as it is banned by the Reserve Bank of India. We will see which medium we can use for trade. India follows only UN sanctions, and not unilateral sanctions by any country.
Foreign Minister, India
RBI (The Reserve Bank of India), India’s central bank, claimed about a harmful policy in April mandating RBI-regulated financial establishments ban their customers and users from buying cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Banks were also prohibited from providing services “dealing with or settling” cryptocurrencies. Though it isn’t directly stated that the ban extends to transactions settled in cryptocurrency, there is no surprise in the Indian government choosing not make a trade deal in the petro despite the significant discount suggested.
Developed as an instrument for payments in order to contend the economic sanctions and a US-led financial blockade, Venezuela’s petro has faced a lot of criticism from within the country. In March, the National Assembly of Venezuela claimed the ‘unconstitutional’ petro ‘a fraud’.
India isn’t concerned about US sanctions facing Venezuela and Iran, the latter which has now become India’s top crude oil supplier. Indian Foreign Minister also affirmed that the country would continue trading with Venezuela in spite of oil imports from the South American nation being at their lowest levels in over five years.