India deploys aircraft in Malaysia for MH 370 search

India deploys aircraft in Malaysia for MH 370 search

India on Thursday sent two of its latest military aircraft to Malaysia for searching deep inside the southern Indian Ocean to look for any sign of the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines plane even as Australian military aircraft and a Norwegian ship were investigating some of the debris seen in satellite images.

The debris were spotted in an area between 40-47 degree South latitude and 80-85 degrees East longitude, which is about 7,000 km from Cape Comorin. 

The nearest habitations include French islands Amsterdam and Kerguelen and there are hardly any big landmass nearby. Perth is 3,500 km away.

One P8-I maritime reconnaissance aircraft of the Navy and one C-130J Super Hercules carrier of the Indian Air Force will join the search force operating from Malaysia on Friday. 

They will operate from Malaysian air stations as the search area is too far from India. After almost two days of diplomatic parleys, the government finally decided to position the aircraft at a foreign site as a part of an international search team, as carrying out the operation from India would be a logistical nightmare because of the distance factor.

For instance, Indian Navy’s P8-I long range maritime surveillance aircraft would take close to ten hours of flying to reach the zone, which India was asked to search. 

This means almost 20 hours of flying before the aircraft returns to its base on the Tamil Nadu coast, necessitating a refuelling stop.

The four options were Perth, Jakarta, Mauritius and the US base at Diego Garcia. But getting the respective government’s permission to operate a military aircraft from those location was a big challenge.

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