Was missing Malaysian plane hijacked for 9/11-type attack on India?


With the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines plane MH370 entering its ninth day today, sabotage and conspiracy theories abound, with former US deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott now tweeting that the plane could have been hijacked to execute a 9/11-type attack on an Indian city.

“Malaysian plane mystery: Direction, fuel load & range now lead some to suspect hijackers planned a 9/11-type attack on an Indian city,” Talbott tweeted on Saturday.

“Malaysian#370 as hijack: 1 of many theories. Speculation: hijackers headed toward India but crashed like UA#93 on 9/11,” he further said on the social media site.

Flight MH 370, the Malaysian Airlines plane, has been missing since March 8 with 239 passengers and crew onboard, and a massive manhunt for its hasn’t yet resulted in any concrete clues on its whereabouts.

India on Sunday suspended its search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 around the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands and in the Bay of Bengal and are awaiting fresh instructions from Malaysia, a defence official said.

Talbott, a well-known foreign policy analyst, has added fuel to the ‘hijack’ theory speculation but stopped short of mentioning any suspects behind the possibility of such an attack on India. Talbott is currently President, Brookings Institution, Washington, DC, a non-profit public policy organisation.

Its stated mission is to conduct high-quality, independent research. According to its website, Talbott is responsible for formulating and setting policies, recommending projects, approving publications and selecting staff. Talbott, whose career spans journalism, government service and academe, is an expert on US foreign policy, with specialties on Europe, Russia, South Asia and nuclear arms control.

As deputy secretary of state in the Clinton administration, Talbott was deeply involved in both the conduct of US policy abroad and the management of executive branch relations with Congress.

Further to the statement by the Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak yesterday into the ongoing search for Flight MH370, Malaysia Airlines issued a statement maintaining it had shared all available information with the relevant authorities since the moment it learned that the aircraft had disappeared, in the early hours of Saturday March 8.

“This includes the very first indications that MH370 may have remained airborne for several hours after contact was lost, which the Prime Minister referred to,” the airline said in a statement.

“This is truly an unprecedented situation, for Malaysia Airlines and for the entire aviation industry. There has never been a case in which information gleaned from satellite signals alone could potentially be used to identify the location of a missing commercial airliner. Given the nature of the situation and its extreme sensitivity, it was critical that the raw satellite signals were verified and analysed by the relevant authorities so that their significance could be properly understood. This naturally took some time, during which we were unable to publicly confirm their existence,” the airline said.

Meanwhile, families and friends of those onboard the missing aircraft remain clueless about the fate of their loved ones. “We were well aware of the ongoing media speculation during this period, and its effect on the families of those on board. Their anguish and distress increases with each passing day, with each fresh rumour, and with each false or misleading media report. Our absolute priority at all times has been to support the authorities leading the multinational search for MH370, so that we can finally provide the answers which the families and the wider community are waiting for,” the airline notes.


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