New Delhi: Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Olympic gold medalist shooter Abhinav Bindra on Tuesday donned the uniform of commando as they were conferred an honorary rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army.

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The two eminent sportspersons were conferred the honour for their outstanding contribution in the field of sports and their commitment to the army on various occasions.

"It's a real honour as I always wanted to be part of the Indian Army. It's (joining the Indian Army) something that I always wanted to achieve as a kid and now that I have donned the Olive Greens, my dream has been fulfilled," said Dhoni later at a felicitation function.

"Dhoni and Bindra were pipped-in by Army Chief General V K Singh at the South Block here. Dhoni and Bindra have been commissioned as honorary Lt Col," an Army spokesperson said here.

Dhoni will be representing the Parachute Regiment of the Indian Army while Bindra has joined a TA battalion of the Sikh Regiment.

Dr Deepak Rao, a trainer for combating terrorism, has also been conferred the honorary commission in the rank of Major in the Territorial Army.

Later in the evening, the three honorary officers were feliciated by Major General H K Singh, Additional Director General of Territorial Army, at a function here.

Bindra said "it's a matter of great pride for me and I am feeling privileged today."

Rao has been imparting his expertise for 17 years to soldiers from various Indian forces. He has also been an instructor in reflex shooting and deep sea diving.

During an interaction with the gathering, Dhoni's wife Sakshi Singh Rawat enquired from her husband how he plans to serve the Indian Army now that he has been conferred with the honorary rank, to which Dhoni replied, "as an Indian cricketer, it's difficult to get time off from your busy schedule but whenever I will get time, I will go to the border areas and meet the army men who guard our borders and protect us."

"I want to witness the extreme conditions in which they live. I would also like to visit the Southern Command, Bangalore, as I believe you can learn a lot from them", Dhoni said.

By donning the Olive Greens, the three honorary officers have joined the list of 17 other personnel including Kapil Dev, actor Mohan Lal and Dr Anil Hibbu who are in the Territorial Army.

As Brand Ambassadors of the Indian Army, they will help strengthen the citizen-soldier bonds.

"We will promote youngsters to join the Indian Army. We will try our best to motivate youngsters to come and be part of this great institution, “said Dhoni.

President Pratibha Patil had approved the grant of honorary commissions to the two sportspersons in September this year in recognition of their achievements in their respective sports.

(Agencies)