Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra were today granted the rank of honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Territorial Army by President Pratibha Patil.
"President Pratibha Patil has granted the honorary rank of Lt Col in the Territorial Army to the captain of Indian cricket team Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the ace shooter Abhinav Bindra," a Defence Ministry spokesperson said.
"The honour has been bestowed on Dhoni and Bindra for their outstanding contribution in the field of cricket and shooting respectively, and their commitment to the Army on various occasions," the spokesperson added.
Dhoni led India to World Cup victory earlier this year and was instrumental in taking the team to the No 1 spot in Test rankings for the first time ever.
Bindra had won the only individual Olympic gold medal for India at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Both these sportspersons have joined the ranks of senior cricketers -- Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar -- who have been conferred with honorary ranks in the armed forces.
Kapil Dev is an Honorary Lt Col in the Territorial Army, while Tendulkar is an honorary Group Captain in the Indian Air Force.
The Defence Ministry has also cleared a proposal to fly Dhoni and Tendulkar in IAF's frontline Su-30MKI air superiority fighter aircraft at the Lohegaon airbase.
Industrialist Vijaypat Singhania has also been granted the rank of honorary Air Commodore by the IAF.