Malaysian PM calls up Manmohan, seeks help

Navy, IAF temporarily suspend search

Malaysian PM calls up Manmohan, seeks help

India on Sunday received requests from Malaysia to examine its radar data to find out any signature of the missing Malaysian Airlines aircraft that vanished in the air nine days ago without a trace, leading to one of the world’s biggest aviation mysteries.

Even as the two leaders had a telephonic conversation, Indian Navy and Air Force suspended the search operation in the Indian Ocean for the time being and wait for fresh instructions from Malaysia, where the investigations have taken a new turn.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called up Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and asked for “technical assistance” from Indian authorities to corroborate possible paths of the aircraft, whose communication system is suspected to have been switched off before it strayed into an unauthorised flight path.

Though there is no official confirmation, Kuala Lumpur is believed to have requested India either to share data from a number of Indian civil and military radars in the mainland and the islands or a reexamination of the data to spot any clue.

“Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia called Manmohan Singh this evening to request technical assistance from Indian authorities in corroborating the possible paths the missing Malaysian airliner might have taken after losing contact with the ATC radars,” Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson for the Ministry of External Affairs, said here on Sunday.

Singh assured “all possible assistance” from the authorities and shared his concern on the fate of the aircraft and the well-being of the passengers.

On Saturday, Najib said the Boeing 777 was “deliberately diverted” from the course and the aircraft might have taken one of the two possible paths – a northern arc that stretches from Thailand through southern and western China and then to west Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border, and a southern arc from Indonesia to southern Indian Ocean.

Indian Navy and Air Force have been scouring the Indian Ocean, including the Andaman Sea, for the last three days. The search operations came to a temporary halt on Sunday. “There may be a change in the search strategy,” said a Navy officer in Delhi.

The Navy and the Coast Guard ships returned closer to the shoreline while the P8I long-range maritime surveillance, Dornier reconnaissance aircraft and IAF C-130J Super Hercules did not fly on Sunday to look for any sign of the ill-fated aircraft.

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