India joined international efforts to search for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, with two of its Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft taking off from the Subang airport in Malaysia on Sunday.

Separately India is conducting its own search operations in the Andaman Seas and Bay of Bengal since March 11 with five warships and six aircraft of the Indian Navy and Indian Coast Guard.

With the arrival of the two reconnaissance aircraft in Malaysia, India has joined the next phase of ‘International Search and Rescue’ operations following a commitment from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to provide all possible assistance in locating the missing flight MH 370.

After extensive briefings at the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (ARCC) set up by Malaysia on Saturday, Indian Air Force commanders decided to take off on Sunday despite cyclonic conditions en route. They planned to skirt areas of bad weather to reach the search sectors allotted by the ARCC. Both aircraft are likely to undertake 10-hour sorties.

Officials here said the IAF crew were warmly received by the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) Base, Subang, with the Base Commander personally receiving and briefing the men.

The IAF is no stranger to RMAF as both have had a long association operating and training together. India has assured that it will undertake any mission assigned by the ARCC and render any assistance that is technically feasible.

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