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Missing airliner: India sends official to Malaysia

Tue10162018

Last update1:04:46 UTC 2018


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Missing airliner: India sends official to Malaysia

Malayasia plane

India has sent a foreign ministry official to Malaysia to discuss the situation arising out of the baffling disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 that Malaysian authorities now think could have been hijacked.

 

Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak on Sunday spoke with his Indian counterpart Manmohan Singh “to request technical assistance from Indian authorities in corroborating possible paths that the missing Malaysian airliner might have taken after losing contact with ATC radars,” a government official said. Singh assured all possible assistance from concerned Indian authorities while sharing his concern and anxiety about fate of the aircraft and well being of the passengers, the official said.

 

According to the passenger manifest, there were five Indian nationals on board MH370, which was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and went missing less than two hours after it took off on 8 March. A BBC report on Sunday said the airline crew, especially the two pilots, were under scrutiny after Malaysian authorities said the communications systems of the aircraft seemed to have been deliberately switched off.

 

India joined the multinational search to track the missing aircraft last week but has since suspended its efforts focused around the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal off the coast of the Andamans islands. “India has been in touch with the Malaysia authorities in this matter. But this is the first time” that an official from New Delhi has been despatched for consultations, a person close to the developments said on Sunday on condition of anonymity.

 

Confirmation of joint secretary (South) in the ministry of external affairs, Sanjay Bhattacharya's travel to Malaysia came amid speculation that MH370, which had 239 people on board, could have been highjacked to stage a 9/11 type of terror strike on an Indian city.

 

“1 of many theories. Speculation: hijackers headed toward India but crashed like UA#93 on 9/11,” tweeted former US deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott, currently president of the Washington-based Brookings Institution think tank.

 

The reference was to United Airlines flight number 93 highjacked by Al Qaeda militants in the US on 11 September, 2001. UA93 was one of four flights highjacked as part of the Al Qaeda plot. Two of the four crashed into the iconic World Trade Centre towers in New York bringing down the landmark while a third crashed into the Pentagon building in Washington. Passengers of flight UA93, on its way from New Jersey to California, tried to overpower the highjackers and the flight crashed at into an open field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, killing all 44 on board, including the four Al-Qaeda operatives.

 

“Malaysian plane mystery: Direction, fuel load & range now lead some to suspect highackers planned a 9/11-type attack on an Indian city,” said another of Talbott’s tweets.

 

Indian government officials however appeared disinclined to believe this line of thinking and rejected any linkage between Bhattacharya’s visit and Talbott’s tweet saying it was planned “days before.”

 

According to a Reuters report over the weekend, the southern Indian Ocean, where investigators suspect the missing MH370 may have come down, is one place where a commercial airliner can crash without a ship spotting it, a radar plotting it or even a satellite picking it up. It is one of the most remote places in the world and also one of the deepest, posing potentially enormous challenges for the international search effort focusing on the area, one of several possible crash sites, the report said. Even Australia, which has island territories in the Indian Ocean, has no radar coverage much beyond its Indian Ocean coast, it said.

 

World


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