India has politely rejected a request from China to send four of its warships to the Andaman Sea and carry out a sweep for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet, even as the country redeploys its warships and patrol planes in the global search effort that has now expanded to the South Indian Ocean Region close to Antarctica.
After Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott speculated that the debris found to the south of the Indian Ocean possibly belonged to the missing Malaysian jet, India has now redeployed its warships and Air Force planes to carry out searches in the region.
This move by the Indian forces comes in the wake of Malaysia requesting India to restart its search effort. India discontinued its efforts on Sunday, as the country’s four-day search in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea last week yielded no result.
“In continuation of the search for the Malaysian Airliner MH370, the Indian Navy has deployed four warships - INS Satpura, Sahyadri, Saryu and Batti Malv - in the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman Sea and West of Andaman Islands,” a Ministry of Defence official said here.
“In coordination with the surface search by the warships, extensive air searches are also being conducted. A P8I with Electro Optics/Infra Red (EO/IR) pods, a C-130J Hercules aircraft of the IAF and a Dornier aircraft are undertaking searches in the area,” he said.
“Additionally, another P8I, along with another C130J aircraft, are being deployed to Malaysia. These aircraft would be joining the International search force by Friday noon,” he said.
“The Indian forces are in continuous touch with the Royal Malaysian Navy and Air Force from the Maritime Operations Centre in New Delhi and all possible help is being provided to the search and rescue operations for MH370,” he added.
Sources pointed out that the P8-I can endure for four hours on station. The distance from Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu, where the aircraft has it home base, to the spot where the Australian military planes have spotted debris, was nearly 7,000 km.