New Delhi: After objections raised by the defence forces, India today rejected China's request for permission to allow its four warships to enter Indian maritime zone to search for the missing Malaysian airliner.
China, whose 150 nationals are on board the aircraft, had yesterday sent a formal request to India to allow their warships including a salvage vessel and two frigates to enter Indian waters in the Andaman Sea to locate the plane.
The request was politely declined and the Chinese Navy was told that Indian Navy and the Air Force were already scanning the area and there was no need for anybody else to search the area, sources told PTI.
The defence forces had raised objections over the entry of Chinese warships into the Indian waters and that too in an area in Bay of Bengal where India's military assets are mainly to guard against China and these could get exposed if the Chinese warships are allowed in, they said.
Sources said the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Navy (PLAN) had justified its presence in the Indian Ocean Region in the name of anti-piracy patrol and allowing it to station itself in the Andaman Sea for search operations would not have been prudent.
Meanwhile, India has deployed long-range maritime surveillance aircraft including the P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft and the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for the search operations in the new area south of Indonesia.
These two aircraft are capable of undertaking long-range sorties and refuelling themselves at designated locations as the Malaysian authorities have requested India and other countries to search in areas 5,000 km south of Jakarta in the Indian Ocean Region.