India on Sunday suspended its search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 around the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands and in the Bay of Bengal and is awaiting fresh instructions from Malaysia, a defence official said.
"The entire operation is on hold for now. We are awaiting fresh
instructions from Malaysia. Nothing came out of the search in designated areas on Saturday," said Colonel Harmit Singh, spokesman for India's army, navy and airforce command in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
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The decision was taken at the request of the government in Kuala Lumpur, which wants to reassess the week-old hunt for the Boeing 777 that is now suspected of being hijacked.
India had been searching in two areas, one around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and a second further west in the Bay of Bengal. Both searches have been suspended, but may resume, defence officials said.
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"It's more of a pause," Commander Babu, a spokesman for the country's Eastern Naval Command, told Reuters.
"The Malaysian authorities are reassessing the situation. They will figure whether they need to shift the area of search."
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Saturday the plane appeared to have been deliberately steered off course after someone on board shut down its communications systems.
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A review of search operations involving more than a dozen countries will be held in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, Indian officials said.
"The search operation is not over, we are on standby and are awaiting instructions from the Malaysians," said a senior military official in Port Blair, capital of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, an archipelago west of the Malay Peninsula.
(With AFP and Reuters inputs)
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