The Indian government has refused to accept a US ruling that allows it to send a plane to take back the remains of the flight 370 missing Malaysian airliner, it said on Friday.
Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said in a statement that the country had never rejected any offer from the US to transport the plane’s ashes.
The Boeing 777 disappeared on March 8, 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in his Independence Day speech on Friday that he would not allow the ashes to be sent back to Malaysia, adding that he had requested a court in the US state of Washington to rule in his favour.
Mr Parrikari’s statement said India had never denied a request from the United States to send the plane, which was carrying 239 people, to its rightful resting place in Malaysia.
He said India’s decision on whether to send back the plane was “a decision taken by the Indian government and we have always followed it”.
The US has offered to send three planes to take the remains home.
It is unclear whether India will accept the offer or not.
The Indian statement said the Indian Air Force had always sent the plane home, but the US had not been “responsive” to the Indian requests.
Mr Modi said India was willing to take any “appropriate action” to send bodies home.
Indian President Pranab Mukherjee has said India would not let its airspace be “collapsed” over the plane and it was up to the US.
Mr Trump on Wednesday announced he was suspending the repatriation of the plane to Malaysia.US President Donald Trump says India has agreed to take plane’s remains, after Indian PM says India would ‘never’ accept it, in a move to return the missing Malaysia Airlines flight to Malaysia.(Reuters: Arindam Mukherjea)The move prompted criticism from Malaysia and Singapore, which have also offered to take in the remains.
The US, Malaysia, Singapore and India have said they would never accept the plane being sent to their shores.
In a statement, Malaysia said it was “extremely disappointed” that the plane had been returned to India.
“We have already expressed our concerns about the fate of the aircraft to the United Nations,” Malaysian Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said in the statement.
“The government of India has also expressed its support for Malaysia and its position and will continue to do so,” the statement said.
Singapore’s Foreign Minister Lee Hsien Loong also said he was “deeply disappointed” at the return of the remains to India and called on the Indian side to “take appropriate action”.
India’s foreign ministry said the plane would be returned to Malaysia in “a safe manner”.