The Queen’s Baton for the Commonwealth Games 2010 will have to pay its way during its travels in India.
The Defence Ministry has told the government that the Indian Air Force will not be able to spare its aircraft to ferry the baton to difficult areas such as Jammu & Kashmir and the northeastern states.
“Sparing aircrafts will not be feasible in view of the operational requirements of the defence establishment,” a senior government official told HT.
“The organising committee of the Games has been told to use commercial aircraft as much as possible to take the Queen’s Baton around,” the official said.
In case there is a genuine problem in getting a commercial plane, the defence ministry has promised to try and coordinate the movement of defence aircrafts on operational sorties with the baton's itinerary.
The baton — a symbol of the unity and diversity of the Commonwealth of Nations — will reach India on June 25 to begin a 190,000 km long, 100-day journey across all capital cities, before reaching the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium for the Games opening ceremony.