India denies Malaysian jet '9/11-style attack' theory
March 17, 2014 00:00
NEW DELHI - India rejected suggestions Monday that it could have been the intended target of a 9/11-style attack by the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.
As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh promised maximum assistance in the massive hunt for Flight 370, India's foreign minister said it was vital that the mystery over its fate was cleared up.
But asked by the CNN-IBN network about suggestions that the plane was hijacked with the aim of flying it into an Indian city, Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid replied: "I don't think we have gone that far."
The speculation was fuelled by former US deputy secretary of state Strobe Talbott who tweeted that the "direction, fuel load and range now lead some to suspect hijackers planned a 9/11-type attack on an Indian city".
His comments over the weekend have been widely picked up by the Indian media and Khurshid said people needed answers to allay their fears.
"We hope to come to some conclusion that is both credible and reassuring," he said.
The Times of India said security sources had "rubbished" the idea that the plane could have got anywhere close to an urban centre and insisted it would have been detected by a naval base on the Andaman islands, more than 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) off the Indian mainland.
"There is no way our military radars would have missed the airliner as it flew over Andaman Sea, as there is high traffic around that time," one military intelligence source told the paper.