New Delhi/Kuala Lumpur: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today assured his Malaysian counterpart of "all assistance" by Indian authorities in tracing the Malaysian jet that went missing with 239 people aboard over a week ago.
Singh gave this assurance to Najib Razak when the Malaysian premier called and sought India's "technical assistance" in corroborating possible pathways the Flight MH370 may have taken.
"Prime Minister Najib of Malaysia called PM this evening to request technical assistance from Indian authorities in corroborating the possible paths that the missing Malaysian airliner might have taken after losing contact with ATC
radars," Singh's office said in a statement in New Delhi.
Singh while sharing "his concern and anxiety about the fate of the aircraft and the wellbeing of the passengers, assured all possible assistance from the concerned Indian authorities", the statement said.
Razak spoke to the Indian prime minister a day after he said Malaysian investigators suspect that the communication system in the missing Boeing 777-200 aircraft was "deliberately disabled" and its transponder switched off before it veered from its path and flew for more than seven hours.
India had put on hold its search operations for the missing airliner as it said it was awaiting fresh instructions from Malaysian authorities who are likely to look into new areas for locating the plane. India joined the multi-nation search operation by deploying its five warships and six surveillance aircraft.
Earlier in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein today said the number of countries involved in search mission for Flight MH370 had nearly doubled to 25.
"The number of countries involved in the search and rescue operation has increased from 14 to 25," Hussein told a press conference here.
Besides the Indian prime minister, Hussein said Razak spoke to his counterparts in Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.
Besides, he said Malaysian Foreign Ministry officials today briefed representatives from at least 22 countries, including India, and sought their help in the search, whose "entered a new phase" as its "nature" has changed.
The help includes satellite and primary radar data and requesting deployment of sea search assets, the minister said.
The Beijing-bound jetliner carrying 227 passengers, including five Indians and one Indian-Canadian, and 12 crew members mysteriously vanished from radar screens an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8.
There has been no trace of the plane nor any sign of wreckage despite a search by the navies and military aircraft of several countries across Southeast Asia.
Updated Date: Mar 16, 2014 21:19 PM