REFILE-India tells Malaysia found no sign of missing jet - sources

Sat Mar 22, 2014 4:59am EDT

(Fixes typo in first paragraph)

KUALA LUMPUR, March 22 (Reuters) - India has formally told Malaysian investigators it has found no evidence that a missing Malaysia Airlines jet with 239 people on board flew through its airspace, several people familiar with the matter said.

The first formal notification that India has come up empty-handed after checking its radar records leaves the two-week-old investigation dependent on increasingly fragile hopes that an object spotted in the southern Indian Ocean comes from Flight MH370.

Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said earlier that after two days without confirmation, his "biggest concern" was that the search for the missing plane would have to focus once again on two corridors stretching north and south.

Any radar data from India could have proved crucial in identifying whether the aircraft went north or south from its last known position after disappearing on March 8, but the issue is seen as sensitive because of the presence of military radar.

Sources familiar with the situation in both countries said India had formally told Malaysia that it had checked for any sign of the jet having touched its airspace and found nothing of significance, in response to Kuala Lumpur's diplomatic request. (Reporting by Siva Govindasamy, Niluksi Koswanage, Frank Jack Daniel, Editing by Tim Hepher and Nick Macfie)

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