India's cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Olympian gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra yesterday officially became honorary Lieutenant Colonels in the Territorial Army with the army chief, Gen. VK Singh, pipping their ranks on their shoulders.
MS Dhoni salutes after being conferred the rank of Lt Colonel in New Delhi yesterday. Pic/AFP
President Pratibha Patil had approved the grant of honorary commissions to the two illustrious sportspersons on September 13 in recognition of their achievements in their respective sports.
While Dhoni was commissioned into the elite Para Regiment in the presence of the Colonel of the Regiment, Lt General. Bindra was welcomed into the Sikh Regiment by Lt General Sumer Singh, its Colonel of the Regiment.
"I have got the maroon beret now, but I have to earn it," Dhoni said soon after, pointing out that becoming a member of the elite Parachute Regiment was not child's play and involved rigorous combat and airborne operations training.
"I will soon find time to go for my training, will meet with the soldiers on the borders and encourage youth to join the army. Joining the Territorial Army and donning this uniform is a childhood dream come true," he added.