Australian Prime Minister's visit to India postponed amid bushfire crisis
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison's scheduled visit to India later this month has been called off due to the extraordinary circumstances of the bushfire in "The Land Down Under."
Canberra: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has postponed his scheduled visit to India and Japan amid the ongoing bushfire crisis in his country, the Australian PM office said on Saturday (January 4).
In a statement, the Australian PM office said that it looks forward to rescheduling the visits to the two countries at a mutually convenient time in the coming months.
"The Prime Minister has postponed his state visit to India and his official visit to Japan to stay close to the disaster and recovery operations underway in Australia," the statement read.
"We deeply appreciate the arrangements that India and Japan have made to date and look forward to rescheduling the visits at a mutually convenient time in the coming months," it added.
Morrison was slated to pay a state visit to India from January 14 to January 16, diplomatic sources had said on Friday.
Up to 3000 reservists will be dispatched across four states in Australia to help tackle the bushfires raging across the country, Australian PM Morrison announced on Saturday.
"Today's decision puts more boots on the ground, puts more planes in the sky, puts more ships at sea, and puts more trucks to roll in to support affected communities," Morrison told reporters, as cited by The Sydney Morning Herald.
Morrison further announced that the government has allocated AUD 20 million to lease four water bomber planes, which would be used in the coming weeks amid the predictions that the unprecedented natural disaster would likely turn worse.
Fires have wreaked havoc in parts of Australia for months and are unlikely to stop anytime soon, given that the country is still in the early months of summer and temperatures typically peak in January and February.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a telephonic conversation with Morrison and conveyed his heartfelt condolences on the damage to life and property in Australia due to severe and prolonged bushfires.