Who is the Indian army officer who is extremely popular in the Kashmir Valley? It’s none other than cricketer – MS Dhoni who has commenced his two-month training with Indian Army’s Parachute Regiment. As EurAsian Times reported earlier, Dhoni was ready to join his battalion in Kashmir, which is basically headquarters in Bengaluru.
“Just like Dhoni has been one of the greatest servants of Indian cricket, his love for the armed forces is also well-known. This idea that he would go and spend time with his regiment was in the pipeline for a while but it took a backseat due to his cricketing commitments.
“This will also help increase awareness among the youth about the armed forces and that is what Dhoni wants,” the source said.
MSD holds the honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army unit of the Parachute Regiment (106 Para TA battalion). The honour was accorded to him by the Indian Army in 2011. MS Dhoni was given this honour along with Abhinav Bindra and Deepak Rao.
MS Dhoni will not be part of any counter-terror operations or active duty and will only undergo training with soldiers. Dhoni had earlier written to the Indian Army authorities for wanting to spend two months his battalion. Dhoni’s battalion (parachute regiment), is currently posted in the Kashmir Valley.’
Earlier, Dhoni’s request to train with the Parachute regiment was approved by the Indian Army Chief General Bipin Rawat. The wicket-keeper batsman had requested the Indian Army to allow him to train with a territorial army battalion of the Parachute regiment for two months.
“The request has now been approved by the Indian Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat and the honorary Lt Col would train with the Parachute regiment battalion,” top Army sources was quoted by ANI.
Dhoni has trained with the Special Forces and carried out five jumps to qualify as a paratrooper. Dhoni has also undergone training in the firing of weapons and other activities.
Experts talking to EurAsian Times suggested that MS Dhoni’s deployment in Kashmir probably might be the first time that local people in the Valley would wholeheartedly welcome an Indian Army official and would want to meet and seek inspiration.
Dhoni is famous throughout the world and Kashmir is no exception. This could actually turn out to be a great PR exercise for the Indian Army who are trying the win the hearts and minds of people.