There is a 1944 Chicago Convention that governs international air travel through the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Article 20 of the Chicago Convention requires aircraft to be registered with a national aviation authority and the resultant registration number must be displayed near the tail of the aircraft. The first part of this registration number, the prefix, determines nationality of registration and because this prefix covers not just aircraft registration but also radio and television broadcasting, the country code is allotted by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). India’s country code happens to be VT and despite travelling frequently, we may not even notice this or realise that VT stands for ‘Viscount’s Territory’. (Some people say ‘Victoria’s Territory’, but this is unlikely since Queen Victoria died in 1901.) It is a colonial legacy we can well do without. Throughout the Commonwealth, including South Asia, countries have moved away from colonial legacies, Australia and Canada being exceptions. What is bizarre is that we have to wait even in the 61st year of Independence for this colonial legacy to change.
THE INDIAN AEROPLANES
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