To mark the 15 years of diplomatic relation between Bhutan and Canada, the Ambassador of Canada to Bhutan Nadir Patel made a threeday visit to Bhutan. The Ambassador was in the country with top Canadian nine-member delegations and it’s his sixth and second visit this year to Bhutan.
During his stay in Bhutan, Ambassador met with Prime Minister (Dr.) Lotay Tshering, Speaker of the National Assembly, Tshogpoen Wangchuk Namgyel, Minister of Foreign Affairs (Dr.) Tandin Dorji, Minister of Education, J.B. Rai, Ambassador Sonam Thong, Foreign Secretary, Sonam Wangchuk, Secretary of Labour and Human Resources Ministry, Karma Yeshey, Secretary of Education Ministry and several business and NGOs.
In an interview with Bhutan Today, Nadir Patel said that main field to collaborate with Bhutan is in the areas of education, healthcare, agriculture, climate change policy, infrastructure/construction, power, water and watershed. Ambassador Nadir Patel signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Ambassador to Canada, Doma Tshering in the presence of the Foreign Minister to institutionalize the ministry-to ministry relationship and to develop a consultation for bilateral cooperation between the countries.
He has also announced a joint initiative between the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), a Canadian Crown Corporation, the Centre for Bhutanese Studies and Gross National Happiness and the Oxford Poverty & Human Development Initiative which will bring young Bhutanese scholars can participate in the launch of the International Society of Bhutan Studies (ISBS).
The Ambassador has also pointed out that the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives (CFLI) is presently funding four projects; Bhutan Centre for Media and Democracy, Rural Education and Development, Royal College and the Disabled Person’s Association of Bhutan valuing Nu. 5,455,157.59 in the areas of democracy and health. Canada’s newly announced Feminist International Assistance to empower women ensuring gender equality.
The other key highlights were to support in sustainable development with trade and investment policy reforms in developing countries. Bhutan is invited to apply for funding access Canadian expertise and support for capacity building. Commitment for potential visa applicants for visitors, students and workers seeking employment opportunities by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship (IRCC) was also announced.
The Ambassador said that Bhutan and Canada have many commonalities in terms of geographical, climate change, natural flora, interest in empowering women etc. He said that there are lots Bhutan and Canada can learn from each other. He said, “Though Bhutan and Canada started diplomatic relation 15 years ago, the legacy of friendship dates long back and are the friendliest people in the world.” He added that he himself has strong affinity towards Bhutan where his family got warm hospitality.
Focusing on the education sector and unemployment, the Ambassador said supporting and expanding education and expanding technical skills that can create job in Bhutan bringing back skill from Canada. He said that this is the fundamental area to focus which Canada’s presence hasn’t done enough. The other is to making temporary foreigner workers. The matter is being discussed with Ministry of Labour and Human Resources.
The Ambassador hosted a reception to mark the 15 years diplomatic relations. He conveyed his warm greeting on eve of Bhutan’s 111th National Day
By Yeshey Choden