Malaysia’s Premier Najib Razak on Sunday spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking India’s help in searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 even as India put on hold search operations for the missing airliner, saying it was awaiting fresh instructions from Malaysian authorities.

“The Malaysian authorities have now indicated that based on investigation, the search operations have entered a new phase and a strategy for further searches is being formulated. Accordingly, search operations have been suspended and all Indian assets earmarked for search and rescue operations have been placed on standby,” a defence release in New Delhi said. India had deployed five warships and six surveillance aircraft for the search operation.

Mr. Razak spoke to Dr. Singh a day after he said investigators suspect that the aircraft’s communication system was “deliberately disabled” and its transponder switched off before it veered off its path and flew for more than seven hours.

Earlier in the day, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the number of countries involved in the search mission had nearly doubled to 25. Mr. Hussein also confirmed that Premier Razak also spoke to his counterparts in Bangladesh, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

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