As international efforts are under way to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, India has turned down China's request to enter India's territorial waters to search for the aircraft.

New Delhi has said it does not want the Chinese warships to be "sniffing around" Indian maritime territories under the pretext of searching for the jetliner's wreckage.

The request made by Beijing to allow four of its warships, including two frigates and a salvage vessel, near the Andaman and Nicobar chain of islands, was "politely turned down" by New Delhi, reports the Times of India.

The archipelago has more than 500 tiny islands and shelters India's strategic military installations.

An Indian official said: "The Andaman and Nicobar command is our military outpost in the region, which overlooks the Malacca Strait and dominates the Six-Degree Channel. We don't want Chinese warships sniffing around in the area on the pretext of hunting for the missing jetliner or anti-piracy patrols."

Indian forces are already scouring the Bay of Bengal and Arabian Sea for the missing Malaysian jetliner.

The unnamed authority added: "Indian Navy already has four warships (INS Satpura, Sahyadari, Saryu and Batti Malv) deployed in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea in continuation of the search for the jetliner. Extensive air searches are also being conducted with three aircraft (P-8I, C-130J and Dornier-228) in the area."

"In addition to all this, the P-8I [long-range maritime reconnaissance jet] and C-130J [special operations jet] will be joining the international force in Malaysia by Friday afternoon. We are in continuous touch with the Royal Malaysian Navy and Air Force from our maritime operations centre at New Delhi to render all possible."