India suspends search for Malaysian plane, but on standby
Posted on Mar 16 2014 | IANS
New Delhi, March 16 : India Sunday suspended its search operation for the missing Malaysian plane but placed its assets on standby as Kuala Lumpur reassessed the strategy for the hunt.
"Malaysian authorities have now indicated that, based on investigation, the search operations have entered a new phase and a strategy for further searches is being formulated," said a statement from the defence ministry.
"Accordingly, search operations have been suspended and all Indian assets earmarked for SAR (search and rescue) operations have been placed on standby," it said.
India has deployed numerous assets of its navy, air force and coast guard to search for the missing plane of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
A total of six aircraft and six ships with their integral helicopters were deployed which have combed the designated search areas spanning across the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.
Additional naval assets have been kept on standby for immediate deployment.
The statement added that India continues to maintain active coordination with the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Air Force from its Maritime Operations Centre at New Delhi.
In Port Blair, Colonel Harmit Singh, spokesman for the Andaman and Nicobar Command, told IANS: "The Coast Guard will revert to routine surveillance till further orders."
The Malaysian plane with 239 passengers and crew vanished without trace after taking off from Kuala Lumpur March 8.
So far no sighting or detection has been reported by the units deployed for searches in various designated areas.