India suspends search for missing Malaysian jet MH370, awaits new instructions

  • Agencies, Port Blair
  • |
  • Updated: Mar 16, 2014 11:20 IST
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    A woman writes a message for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, at a shopping mall in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP Photo)

  • Malaysia Airplane MH370

    Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses reporters about the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. (Reuters photo)

  • Malaysia Airlines MH370

    Colonel Do Duc Minh (3rd L), Vietnam Air Force's 370 Division's Chief of Staff, points at a map as he speaks to reporters about search ...

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    In this file photo, clouds hang over the North Sentinel Island, in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. (AP Photo/Gautam Singh, File)

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    A Malaysia Airlines employee writes a message expressing prayers and well-wishes for passengers onboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in ...

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    Crew members look outside windows from a Malaysian Air Force CN235 aircraft during a search and rescue operation to find the missing plane over the ...

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    A P3C patrol plane of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force sits on the taxi way at Sepang air force base, Malaysia. (AP Photo)

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    A woman wearing a mask against the haze walks past a board saying "Pray for MH370" in front of the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC). ...

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    This handout photo taken shows the Royal Malaysian Navy's missile corvette KD Laksamana Muhammad Amin (front) and Royal Malaysian Navy's offshore patrol vessel KD Selangor ...

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    A tourist walks past a signboard saying "Pray for MH370" in front of the Kuala Lumpur City Center (KLCC). (Reuters photo)

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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Read: 3 pieces of evidence point to jet's takeover

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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