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The Sikh Global Village Ecuador
The main interest in visiting Ecuador was to check on the so called formation of Khalistan Head Quarters in Quito in 1985. The address given in various Gurdwara web sites is "Khalistan Council,Khalistan House P O Box 193-C Quito, Ecuador Tel: 458 799". KC is non existent. Enquiries with the Ministry of External Affairs in Quito met with a complete surprise. They agreed to look up old files in the archives. The search did not show up any correspondence on the subject between their representative in India and the Ministry in Quito during this period. However there were some indirect reference on the subject between Ecuador's Ambassador in London and their Ministry in Quito.

An internet version states that on October 3, 1985, an Embassy of Khalistan was established in Quito, the capital of Ecuador. About 70 officials of the Ecuador participated in the inauguration ceremony. This Embassy was called Casa de Khalistan (Khalistan House). Bhai Balbir Singh Nijjar of Toronto was appointed the Ambassador. Passports of Government of Khalistan in Exile were also issued. According to the Indian Government sources, Indo-Ecuadorian relations suffered a jolt in July 1985 when, during the height of terrorism in the Punjab, news about Ecuador granting recognition to the so-called ‘Khalistan’ came to light. A high level delegation from Ecuador that included a former President of the country who was also the chairman of the ruling party held discussions in London with various self proclaimed ‘Khalistani’ leaders and allegedly offered to give agricultural land and settlement to apparent ‘Khalistani refugees’ in exchange for substantial financial inducement. However, on account of diplomatic pressure from India, President León Febres Cordero formally announced within a few days that the team that had met with ‘Khalistani’ leaders was a private delegation and that there was no official support to the idea. Relations since then have been normal and cordial between India and Ecuador. Another uncorroborated version is that Indian Govt sent its commandos, with Ecuador Govt’s concurrence, to get the Sikhs to move out from Quito. This story seems a bit unlikely. At present there are hardly any Sikh immigrants. Inquiries with them could not throw any light on the subject.

Various web sites mention that Sikhs from countries whose nationals do not require visa but who belong to Sikh religion do have to apply for a visa. This needs to be set right. In my own case, Ecuador Embassy insisted on police clearance but (as a saving grace), I am told this procedure applies to all Indians visiting Ecuador. It was intriguing to say the least to hear from some Sikh immigrants that once a person arrives in Ecuador getting a residence permit is not difficult (probably if one is not wearing a turban). Ecuadorians are quite friendly but opportunities for jobs and business seem to be some what limited.
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