India’s government has announced that the country cannot use the Petro cryptocurrency to purchase Venezuelan oil, according to a report from CrowdFund Insider and other media outlets. The decision represents yet another blow to Venezuela’s attempt to generate more demand for the Maduro government's state-issued digital currency.
President Nicolas Maduro’s government had reportedly proposed that India use the Petro for its Venezuelan oil purchases and had even offered a thirty percent price discount as an enticement. Several Venezuela’s other trading partners are reported to have received similar offers in early 2018, as part of the government’s effort to promote adoption of the Petro.
Earlier this week, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj explained why her country would not be using Venezuela’s digital currency, citing the central bank’s recent pronouncements on 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.”
Swaraj pointedly noted that India’s decision to reject the Petro had nothing to do with recent American sanctions on the Venezuelan regime. She said that her country will ignore those U.S. sanctions, since India views them as reactionary and beyond those authorized by the United Nations:
“India follows only UN sanctions, and not unilateral sanctions by any country. We don’t make our foreign policy under pressure from other countries.”