On March 10th, US Special Representative for Venezuela Elliott Abrams said that the US was pressuring India to stop buying oil from Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro.
“We say you [India] should not be helping this regime. You should be on the side of the Venezuelan people,” Elliott Abrams told Reuters in an interview.
Abrams said that the Trump administration has given the same warning to other governments too. He and US National Security Adviser John Bolton also warned foreign banks and companies against doing business with Venezuela while Maduro is in power.
Abrams described the U.S. approach as “arguing, cajoling, urging.”
“The Indian market is crucial for Venezuela’s economy because it has historically been the second-largest cash-paying customer for the OPEC country’s crude, behind the United States, which through sanctions against Maduro has handed control of much of that revenue to Guaido,” Reuters reported.
This pressure comes amid a potential for a trade escalation between the US and India over the removal of New Delhi from the GSP designation and India threatening to introduce tariffs on $10.6 billion of US imports by April 1st.
Abrams said that if the threat of sanctions “leads to people to cooperate voluntarily, we’re glad.”
Which is puzzling, since is it possible to call cooperating under threat of sanctions “voluntary?”
Asked whether India had agreed to stop buying oil from Maduro’s government, Abrams said: “I don’t want to characterize the discussions, which continue.”
Washington also appears to be taking a neutral stance in the recent India-Pakistan conflict over an alleged airstrike on terrorist camps in Pakistani Kashmir. Despite that, the MSM, which is mostly controlled by the Washington establishment is spinning the conflict to India’s benefit.
On March 11th, India Times reported that Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir is to visit New Delhi, during his visit Indian officials will express concern regarding Pakistan’s recent “clamp down” against terror groups. The measures are “inadequate” and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan must undertake irreversible action against terror masterminds.
India’s Modi government will brief Al-Jubeir on various topics, including the Pulwama terror attack of February 14th and India’s response in the face of the airstrike on February 26th. According to anonymous Indian officials, Pakistan needs to shut down the “terror factory” and take irreversible action against terror operatives.
“It is regrettable that Pakistan still continues to deny Jaish-e-Mohammed’s own claim of taking ownership of the Pulwama attack. In 2004, the then President of Pakistan had made a solemn public commitment that they would not allow any territory under their control to be used for terrorist activity in any manner. But till today, however, Pakistan has failed to take any credible action against Jaish-e-Mohammed and other terrorist organizations, which continue to operate from Pakistan. The presence of terrorist camps in Pakistan is a public knowledge within and outside Pakistan,” an anonymous official said. “The visiting Minister will be conveyed of the necessity of compelling Pakistan to move beyond mere words and to show credible, verifiable and sustained actions.”
“While India has made it clear that it is not seeking any mediation in its relations with Pakistan and Jammu and Kashmir is an internal matter, the issue of recent Indo-Pak tensions will figure during the Saudi Minister’s visit. Last week India had politely turned down the request by Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister who wished to visit Delhi after his trip to Islamabad,” India Times reported.
On March 9th, India called on the US to investigate Pakistan’s alleged use of US-made F-16 jets during the dogfight which downed an Indian MiG-21 fighter jet and led to the capture of an Indian pilot.
“We have asked the United States to also examine whether the use of F-16 against India is in accordance with the terms and conditions of sale,” Indian foreign ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said.
It appears that the tensions between India and Pakistan following the incident seem to be subsiding, but India has not let the issue go.
There are also continuing internal accusations that the presumed bombing of the terror camp in Kashmir was simply a political ploy by Prime Minister Narendra Modi for some publicity leading up to the upcoming elections and an attempt to “politicize terror.”
As satellite images, released on March 7th revealed that the “destroyed” terror camp still stands in Pakistan’s Kashmir.
It wouldn’t be surprising if the US fully assumes India’s side in the situation, of course, in return for some concessions such as India ending its purchases of Venezuelan oil.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- India To Impose Higher Tarrifs On $10.6 Billion Of US Imports In Response To Removal Of GSP Designation
- Satellite Images Reveal India May Not Have Destroyed ‘Terror Camp’ In Pakistan’s Kashmir
- Pakistan Cracks Down On Jaish-e-Mohammed Militant Group Involved In Multiple Attacks In India