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Malaysian flight: India suspends search

Posted on Mar 16 2014 | IBNS

New Delhi, Mar 16 : India on Sunday suspended its search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight which is carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew and went missing since Mar 8.

India said it placed its 'assets' on standby.

"The 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. Accordingly, search operations have been suspended and all Indian assets earmarked for SAR operations have been placed on Standby," the Ministry of Defence said in a statement.

The Ministry said India has deployed numerous assets of the Indian Navy, Indian Air Force and Indian Coast Guard to search for the missing Malaysian Airlines aircraft.

"A total of six aircraft and six ships with their integral helicopters from the Tri-services Andaman and Nicobar Command, the Eastern Naval Command, the IAF and the Indian Coast Guard were deployed which have combed the designated search areas spanning across the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal. Additional naval assets from the ENC were kept standby for immediate deployment," read the statement.

"Indian Navy, as the lead service, continues to maintain active coordination with the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Air Force from its Maritime Operations Centre at New Delhi which is being manned on a 24X7 basis," it said.

It said: "So far no sighting or detection has been reported by the units deployed for searches in various designated areas."

Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday spoke to his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh seeking India's help to find out the flight.

Singh has assured him of all assistance in connection with the matter.

"#Malaysia's PM calls PM #India's PM and seeks technical assistance in corroborating possible pathways #MH370 may have taken," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson SyedAkbaruddin tweeted.

"PM Singh shares #India's concerns and anxiety about passengers of #MH370 and assures PM Najib of all assistance by Indian authorities," he said.

Former US Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott earlier said he suspected that the missing flight could have been used by 'hijackers' to carry out a 9/11-type terrorist attack in an Indian city.

"Malaysian plane mystery: Direction, fuel load and range now lead some to suspect hijackers planned a 9/11-type attack on an Indian city," Talbott tweeted on Saturday.

Talbott on Sunday clarified his earlier tweet and said there is a speculation that the missing flight might have crashed on its way to India like the hijacked United Airlines (UA) Flight 93 in 2001.

"Malaysian#370 as hijack: 1 of many theories. Speculation: hijackers headed toward India but crashed like UA#93 on 9/11," Talbott said while replying to a tweet.

The aircraft, which is carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, went missing over the South China Sea since Mar 8.

It was going from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

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