COAS offers Australia assistance in tackling bushfires

Army chief meets Australian vice admiral at GHQ

News Desk January 10, 2020
COAS General Qamar Bajwa meets Vice Admiral David Johnston, Australia’s Vice Chief of Defence Forces, at the GHQ on Friday. PHOTO: ISPR

Army chief General Qamar Bajwa has reiterated his offer to Australia in tackling bushfires raging on the continent's east coast that have killed at least 26 people, the military said in a statement.

The offer, earlier made to to General Angus John Campbell, Chief of Defence Force, was repeated during a meeting between the COAS and Vice Admiral David Johnston, Australia’s Vice Chief of Defence Forces, at the GHQ on Friday, according to ISPR, the military’s media wing.

The bushfires have also destroyed more than 2,000 homes and scorched some ten million hectares (100,000 square kilometres) — an area larger than South Korea or Portugal.

The severe conditions have been fuelled by a prolonged drought and worsened by climate change, with experts warning that such massive blazes were becoming more frequent and intense.

Australia experienced its driest and hottest year on record in 2019, with its highest average maximum temperature of 41.9 degrees Celsius recorded in mid-December.

On top of a damage bill likely to run to billions, analysts expect sentiment, spending and tourism, which accounts for over 3% of the economy, all to take a hit.

The statement added that the two commanders also discussed “matters of mutual interest and regional security”.

The visiting dignitary, the ISPR said, appreciated the role of Pakistan Army in ensuring peace and stability in the region, and thanked the COAS for his sentiments towards Australia.

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