• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 2:01pm
Malaysia Airlines flight 370
NewsChina Insider
Flight MH370

India rejects China’s request to search territorial waters for missing Malaysia Airlines jet

PUBLISHED : Friday, 21 March, 2014, 11:12am
UPDATED : Friday, 25 April, 2014, 10:39am

India has rejected a Chinese request to enter territorial waters in the Andaman Sea in an effort to search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 over concerns that the request might be an excuse for military snooping.

“There was no need for anybody else to search the area,” Press Trust of India, the country’s largest news agency, quoted unidentified government sources as saying.

India thus “politely rejected” the Chinese request to allow People’s Liberation Army Navy ships enter waters near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The request was made on Wednesday and entailed the dispatch of four ships, including two frigates and a salvage vessel.

We don’t want Chinese warships sniffing around in the area on the pretext of hunting for the missing jetliner or anti-piracy patrols.
Unnamed Indian military official

It came on the same day PLA Navy spokesman Liang Yang said Chinese search efforts would shift westwards and focus on two areas: the Andaman Sea and waters southwest of the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

India has already deployed its coast guard, four warships and three military aircraft to search the Andaman Sea for clues over the plane’s whereabouts, an unnamed navy officer told the Times of India, the country’s most-widely read English-language newspaper.

Chinese warships would have brought no new capabilities to that search, Ashley J. Tellis, a security and defence expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told the South China Morning Post. "I am surprised the Chinese actually made the request, given that their search  capabilities in the region are inferior to India's," he said.

Two further Indian aircraft are joined the international search force based in Malaysia on Friday, the paper reported.

Three Chinese military aircraft left Sanya, Hainan province, for Malaysia on Friday morning to join the search effort, according to a statement on the Ministry of Defence website. 

A special unit was established at the the Chinese air force headquarters on Thursday to oversee the search missions. The participation of the Chinese military had been approved by the Malaysian authorities, the online statement by the ministry's spokesman Colonel Shen Jinke said.

Brahma Chellaney, professor of strategic studies at the New Delhi-based Centre for Policy Research, said he considered the Chinese request "unusual", since Indian ships were altready scouring the area requested by the PLA. "China should not use a tragedy to gain access for naval probing," he said. 

Chinese military vessels already are a regular presence in the Indian Ocean’s international waters. Indian military observers have in the past raised concerns over Chinese encroachment in India’s regional sphere of influence.

Last month, China’s largest amphibious landing ship, the Changbaishan, and two destroyers conducted an exercise focused on anti-piracy in the Indian Ocean.

Dibyesh Anand, associate professor of international relations at the University of Westminster in London, said India's rejection also reflected a growing wariness between the two armed forces, and their naval arms in particular.

"Of all the wings of the military, Indian navy needs China most as a threat to legitimise its share of the budgetary pie," he said. "Would China allow Indian ships in its territorial waters close to its naval installations?" 

On Thursday, China’s President Xi Jinping told India’s new ambassador to the country Ashok K Kantha that he was a proponent of advancing bilateral ties, which have been mired in territorial disputes in the Himalayas and India’s hospitality for the Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.

“Furthering strategic partnership with India is my historic mission,” Xi told the ambassador, Reuters reported.

Most of the 227 people on board on the missing Malaysian airliner are Chinese, 12 are Indian citizens.

The search has since focused on an area in the southern Indian Ocean 2,260km off the coast of Perth, Australia, where satellite imagery found two large floating objects.

Five Chinese ships are on route to the site, the country’s National Maritime Search and Rescue Centre said on Friday. The Chinese ice breaker Xuelong, currently at harbour in Perth, is set to join the search effort as soon as possible, the Xinhua news agency said. 

The press sections of the Chinese embassy in New Delhi and the Indian embassy in Beijing could not be reached for immediate comment. 

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This article is now closed to comments

abhishek.chaturvedi.31
perfect decision taken by india...... china cannot enter where ever it wants.....by claiming entire south china sea as its won territory it has once again shown its arrogance....let chinese be reminded that this wont be tolerated....
ejmciii
The South China Sea is not the territory of China. Just because you are China does not mean the rules do not apply to you. Get used to it.
cal10ten
guy.pant,
the difference between Indian territorial waters in the Andaman Sea which China requested to enter is that the waters belong to India. It's a fact. There are no other claimants to the water in the Andaman Sea. In contrast who says the South China Sea is China's. Only China is saying it. There are other countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and the Philippines claiming parts of the SCS. So ownership is questionable. As for Indian ships not asking China for permission when they explored for oil, it is because the area they were exploring were in areas claimed by other countries which rightly or wrongly gave permission to them. I remember the issue about Vietnam allowing an Indian ship to explore for oil in waters that Vietnam claims. So the Indian ship had permission from Vietnam and there was no need to ask China. That's the BIG difference -- Andaman Sea is India's, no question. But SCS has so many claimants.
ejmciii
On the other hand, India could have taken the high road in efforts to find the plane and allowed the Chinese to assist under the supervision of the Indian Navy. Sometimes nationalism overwhelms wisdom.
guy.pant
Why should China make such a request? India ignores/doesn't ask China when it sends its navy and drills for oil in China's territorial waters. India uses the South China Sea and never helped search in the area. It only participated when Malaysia asked it to help out in the Indian Ocean, while Japan (with no Japanese citizens on board the flight) voluntarily participated in the search.
mercedes2233
For goodness sake, a plane and its occupants may be there! China asked properly for permission, didn't it? How can India justify letting people die there and not let their families know? If India must object, then do the search yourself and report back. Has it no sense of humanity?
jg1312@gmail.com
No one is letting people die there. India has the capability to search and are doing so. Everyone knows Chinese is using this for its own purpose.
Pls check whether China has any sense of humanity and then come back with a proper comments.
mercedes2233
Politics and the claim of those waters are not under dispute here. A plane and its occupants may be there. China has respected India's sovereignty and asked for permission to enter, properly. Many countries are aiding in locating the Malaysian Airlines plane, and only India is obfuscating. Was it an unreasonable request to ask? This is a humanitarian matter, not a claim of those waters!
cheeky
Kick them out of Greater China. Teach these snake oil salesmen a lesson.

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