Malaysia Airlines MH 370 plane: India turns crucial to search as mystery deepens

Written by PTI | New Delhi | Updated: Mar 13 2014, 00:40am hrs
Malaysia AirlinesNarendran, husband of Malaysian Airlines passenger Chandrika Sharma, speaks to the media (daughter Meghna on right). AP
The Indian Air Force today said it has kept its aircraft on standby for taking part in the search operations for locating the missing Malaysia Airlines MH 370 with 239 people on board.

"We have kept our aircraft on standby and as soon as we get a go ahead, we are ready to take off for search operations," an IAF spokesperson said.

The search area for the IAF is likely to be the Malacca Straits near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

The IAF has its Dornier aircraft along with the Mi-17 helicopters deployed in the Island territory and if the need be, the Navy can deploy the P-8I and the Tu-142 maritime surveillance aircraft.

Malaysiahas soughtIndia's assistance to trace the missing Malaysia Airlines MH 370 plane as the government here initiated the process of appointing designated people to share information and take the matter forward.

The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines Boeing-777 plane, which had five Indians on board, vanished over the South ChinaSea on Friday an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.

India has a tri-services military command atAndaman and Nicobar islands and Navy and air force carry out regular patrols in the area.

Search and rescue operations which had been mobilised since early Saturday morning have failed to find the jetliner in the South China Sea and authorities have expanded the area of search into the Andaman sea, Malaysian officials said.

Authorities have put the plane's last known point of contact with air-traffic control off eastern Malaysia - roughly midway between Kota Bharu and the southern tip of Vietnam, flying at 35,000 feet.

Full picture caption: Narendran, husband of one of the passengers of the missing Malaysian Airlines aircraft Chandrika Sharma, speaks to the media with their daughter Meghna, right, sitting beside in Chennai, India, Wednesday, March 12, 2014. Narendran criticized the Indian government for its ...silence... and said no government official has contacted them on the incident yet, according to a local news agency. Malaysia has asked for India's assistance in searching for the missing Boeing 777 jetliner to widen the search to an area near the Andaman Sea, an Indian official said Wednesday. (AP)