PETALING JAYA: The number of countries involved in the search operation for the missing MH370 has increased to 25.
In a statement, the Transport Ministry said the countries include Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Bangla-desh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and France.
The ministry said Malaysia was asking the countries to provide further assistance, including satellite data and analysis, radar data, as well as maritime, ground and air assets.
Malaysian officials were discussing with all partners how best to deploy the assets along the two corridors that were identified through “pings” from the plane’s engine monitoring system as it attempted to establish contact with satellites.
“Both the northern and southern corridors are being treated with equal importance,” the ministry said.
The northern corridor encompasses nations such as India, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan while the southern corridor covers the Indian Ocean.
The Straits Times reported that Bangladesh was the latest nation to join the search and rescue mission.
The daily cited a Bernama report which quoted an unnamed source as saying that all of Bangladesh’s available resources would be deployed to assist Malaysia, starting with two patrol aircraft and two frigates.
“We will begin searching in the Bay of Bengal and coordinate with your (Malaysian) navy to search the Indian Ocean,” the source said.
AFP reported that India announced yesterday that it had suspended its search for the plane around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and in the Bay of Bengal and is awaiting a new request from Malaysia.
“The entire operation is on hold for now. We are awaiting fresh instructions from Malaysia,” said Colonel Harmit Singh, spokesman for India’s army, navy and air force command in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
“None of the planes from our air fleet took off today (yesterday). Even the navy vessels involved in search operations have moved to another island,” he said.
India had been combing two separate areas, around the islands in the Andaman Sea and in the Bay of Bengal, as part of the international search for the plane that went missing on March 8.