Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has put off his visit to India due to the continuing crisis caused by wildfires in the country. Mr. Morrison was due to visit India for a 3-city tour to Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore on January 13-16, and was due to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and give the keynote address at the Ministry of External Affairs’ annual Raisina Dialogue conference.
On Friday Prime Minister Modi spoke to Mr. Morrison and conveyed condolences over the “prolonged bushfires” that have left atleast 18 people dead, thousands of animals burnt and homes destroyed.
“[PM Modi] offered India’s unstinted support to Australia and the Australian people, who are bravely facing this unprecedented natural calamity,” an MEA statement said. The situation has brought considerable criticism for the Australian PM, who had undertaken a Christmas vacation as the fires broke out.
India and Australia were expected to conclude a logistics defence agreement and discuss Indo-Pacific strategy during Mr. Morrison’s visit. According to an MEA statement, PM Modi reiterated India’s commitment to the strategic partnership with Australia during the conversation, and looked forward to the Australian PM’s state visit at a “mutually convenient time later in the year”.