Bhutan Is A Second Home For Me: Nadir Patel, High Commissioner for Canada In Bhutan


"We feel that Bhutan is special in our hearts."

(Source: @thepetitewanderess)


By Chencho Dema Business Bhutan

Interview with Mr Nadir Patel, High Commissioner for Canada in India, Nepal and Bhutan who talked about his achievements, and describes his views and feelings towards Bhutan.

Q: Could you tell us about yourself?

I love spending time in Bhutan and I am the longest serving Canadian Ambassador to Bhutan in our 16 years of diplomatic relations. It is natural that I feel a certain special affinity to Bhutan.

My very first visit to Bhutan was with my wife when she was eight months pregnant and I have been back several times with my family since then. We feel that Bhutan is special in our hearts.

For me I don’t think I can be in this role as an ambassador if it wasn’t for education and this is one reason why among the many different areas of focus for Canada, Bhutan’s education is one that I feel very strongly and personally connected to.

Q: Three achievements of yourself with regard to Bhutan?

My focus in the last few years is to build on the legacy of the Canadian-Bhutanese relationship that goes back to the 1960s and 70s, especially the education system established by Father Mackey and to ensure that our legacy will be continued in future.

This is why the first thing we achieved was the agreement between Canada and Bhutan - the annual foreign consultation.

I think it is very important and it does not matter who the ambassador is (as ambassadors come and go), but the ministry to ministry mechanism for regular dialogue, I think is long lasting, therefore the consultation mechanism is the major achievement.

The second thing is that in the period of time which we have been here, we have expanded the Bhutanese-Canadian relationship.


 Source: Facebook/Bhutan Canada Foundation


Besides focussing mostly on educational ties for the most part, we are now also actively collaborating in a number of other areas such as agriculture, the organic sector, as well as trade and investment.

It also includes greater collaboration in the health sector, such as placing more focus on women and child health in particular.

And the third area is for greater engagement at the political level between the governments of Bhutan and Canada.

For example, concerning the New York in United Nations in the General Assembly, your Foreign Minister met with our delegation and we have had an extensive interaction, between myself and your ambassador to Canada in the UN; and we would like to see if we could arrange more high level collaborations between our two governments.

Q: Best thing about Bhutan and its friendship?

Without any hesitation, the best thing about Bhutan by far is the people; the people of Bhutan are extremely warm, welcoming, friendly, smart, and capable.

We feel that Canadians are also known around the world to be warm, welcoming and friendly and I think, I would say that the Bhutanese are probably the closest match to Canadians, in comparison to many other countries which I have been to.


Source: BBS


Bhutan itself also share very similar characteristics and features to Canada. We have mountainous terrains and green environment and we are focused on preserving our environment as well as tackling climate change issues.

This morning (25 November 2019) we told Bhutan’s Prime Minister that it seemed just like an autumnal day in Canada, therefore we feel that Bhutan is just like our second home.

Q: What more can Bhutan expect from the Canadian government?

I think there is more value in focusing on many small things than just concentrating on one big thing. So what we are doing now is that we are sending technical experts to work with Bhutan’s Ministry of Health in the areas of ‘high altitude’ medicine.

We are working with Bhutanese NGOs to address early cancer detection and to manage primary health care workers in the rural and remote areas. We are also looking into nutrition for maternal healthcare.

As Bhutan is also looking at enhancing its tax system, Canada can help provide advice on best practices and the relevant technology needed.

In addition, Canada is known for its sustainable and responsible mining practices which Bhutan can learn from.

In the realm of organic agriculture, we have sent Canadian experts to work with the Bhutanese government to see how we can certify organic products for export to Canada and other markets around the world.

Q: What can Bhutan learn from Canada?

I think Bhutan has identified its priorities and goals to be fulfilled while Canada has the knowledge and expertise to help Bhutan realise them.

It is also important to mention that not only can Bhutan learn from Canada, Canada can also learn from Bhutan.

So we view it as a two way street and I think Bhutan is far more influential and far more experienced in some areas. For example, Bhutan’s focus on its eco-system, the preservation of its forest has been extremely notable. I think it is very impressive.

Thus far, Bhutan has been a very responsible and trusted multilateral partner and we really want to take our relationship further.     


This article first appeared in Business Bhutan and has been edited for Daily Bhutan.



Related Posts

Canada Offers Scholarships For Students In Bhutan, Aims To...

Through the programme starting in the 2020/2021 academic year, scholarship recipients will receive Nu 3,256,029 (about...

Sep 16, 2019 13:08

Canada Deepens Ties With Bhutan, A Few Investment Projects In The...

The Canadian government will invest Nu 2.7 million in three projects which will be implemented this year.

Aug 27, 2019 23:08

'Swiss Films on Wheels' Initiated To Strengthen Ties Between...

The friendship bus ‘Swiss Films on Wheels’, is expected to travel across 17 places in the country.

Aug 02, 2019 23:28

Swiss Business Delegates Visited Bhutan To Explore Business...

“Switzerland has a strong industrial base that equally matches the geographical conditions of Bhutan,” said Phub Zam.

Jun 14, 2019 17:25

Denmark to Support Bhutan’s Organic Agriculture

Bhutan officially launched the policy for organic farming in 2007 and proclaimed the intention to become a fully organic...

Oct 24, 2017 14:50

Austria-Bhutan Society Helps Build Schools In Remote Villages Of...

The ABS also provides scholarships, sports coaches and exchange of medical doctors.

Jun 10, 2019 19:38



Bhutan Launched 21st Century Economic Roadmap To Engage Citizens On Nation’s Progress

Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering launched the website and it can be accessed through

Feb 25, 2020 23:38

Bhutan’s Tarayana Foundation Launched Micro-loans For Rural Community Development

The pilot phase of the programme will start from this year in Samtse, Tsirang and Zhemgang for 18 months.

Feb 21, 2020 23:48


The Bizarre Culture of Night Hunting in Bhutan is Fading

In many parts of eastern Bhutan, Night Hunting is a courtship tradition, a rural version of urban dating. In hard-working, farming...

Feb 27, 2020 06:44

Tribes Of Bhutan - The Brokpas

Merak and Sakteng is home to the Brokpas, a semi-nomadic yak herding tribe who originated from the Tshoona region of Tibet.

Feb 22, 2020 23:48


Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08


Centre Of Excellence For Software Engineering Launched By Bhutan’s Thimphu Techpark

The purpose of establishing this centre is to fulfil His Majesty the King’s vision of using technology to solve problems.

Feb 24, 2020 23:58

Two ‘Made In Bhutan’ Products To Hit The Market Soon, Also Eyeing Overseas Foray

Druk Peci and Bhutan Green Product were launched on 19 February.

Feb 20, 2020 23:38


Forging the Unbeaten Trail Towards Wangdue Nye

When you dedicate year 2020 to hike on unbeaten trails in Bhutan.

Jan 21, 2020 10:58

Make Your Own Personalised Stamps And Discover Bhutan’s Postal History At The Postal Museum

The Bhutan Postal Museum in Thimphu is also a major tourist attraction.

Jan 18, 2020 21:08


See Exquisite Garments On Display At The ‘Royal Robes - Wangchuck Dynasty’ Exhibition

The exhibition will remain open to the public until January 2021.

Feb 19, 2020 23:28

Nightlife in Bhutan

The nightlife is delaying the day by engaging with fun and recreational activities at owl hours. Thimphu Nightlife could fascinate you.

Feb 08, 2020 12:22

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!