India suspended its search for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane on Sunday, while awaiting instruction from Malaysian officials, the Ministry of Defense said.
Malaysian authorities’ announcement Sunday that “search operations have entered a new phase” prompted Indian officials to place search operations on “standby,” read a statement by the Indian Defense Ministry.
Earlier Sunday, Malaysian transport minister Hishamuddin Hussein said the search that already covered two enormous corridors to the north and south would be expanded over the land of 11 countries and vast amounts of ocean.
India had deployed six aircraft and six ships across the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, but “so far no sighting or detection has been reported by the units,” the defense ministry’s statement said.
The two search corridors stretch north across most of South Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India and south through Indonesia, Australia and the Indian Ocean, but do not include the Andamans.
Experts told NBC News that search efforts would likely focus in the southern direction because the route is mostly over open ocean and thus out of radar detection.
The number of countries involved in the search effort jumped from 14 to 25 on Sunday, Malaysian transport officials said.