Aviation authorities in Kuala Lumpur have asked India to help locate the missing Malaysian airliner that is now believed to have strayed towards the Malacca Strait, and a military search mission is expected to be launched as early as Wednesday.
Indian maritime search aircraft are likely to be deployed to join the search after a request was received by the Chennai air traffic control authorities from their counterparts in Kuala Lumpur, sources said.
The request came after the latest findings by the Malaysian air force suggested flight MH370, a Boeing 777 plane, may have strayed off course during its journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and headed in the opposite direction to the Malacca Strait.
Reports quoting the Malaysian air chief said the last located position of the plane is now suspected to be in the western part of the busy strait that sees heavy shipping traffic. This location is close to the Andaman Sea that is dominated by the Indian Navy.
Sources said the Navy, that has assets near the location including several radars, ships and aircraft, has not been officially asked to take part in the search yet.
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However, the Navy and IAF are expected to extend full cooperation from Wednesday morning to search for the missing plane whose passengers include five Indian nationals.