Hyderabad: Lieutenant Colonel (honorary) M.S. Dhoni would be commanding a company in the Army’s Victor Force headquartered in Awantipora of South Kashmir and is likely to be assigned to road opening parties (RoP) and road domination besides patrolling the garrison and guard duty, senior Army officials said.
“He will be commanding a company which will comprise an officer, five JCOs (junior commissioned officers) and 80 to 100 men. Like all of us, he will be expected to be on duty 24 hours. He will be assigned duties of securing the perimeter of the garrison besides RoP and road domination which is critical for the movement of Army convoys across Kashmir,” a senior Army official from Jammu and Kashmir told Deccan Chronicle over telephone.
According to the official, Dhoni will have to be up at 4 am and get ready before 6 am, just like everyone else. “For RoP duties, which is a very important job, his company will have to start early in the morning and sanitise the route to be taken by Army convoys, using metal detectors and scanners to check if there are IEDs planted along the road. Once they give the clearance, the convoys will move. Thereafter, the company will dominate the road from vantage points to ensure there is no obstruction or firing from any side,” the official said.
Dhoni join the Territorial Army (TA) unit of the 106 Parachute Regiment (106 Para TA battalion) on July 31 and will stay with them till August 19.
“The TA normally assists other battalions in the Infantry Brigade during operations. While Dhoni will not be part of any active operation, he will be part of all other duties the TA is expected to do. The TA forms the second line of support,” another Army officer said.
While the Army’s Romeo Force is located in Rajouri district of J&K, the Kilo Force in Kupwara, the Victor Force, of which Dhoni will now be a part, is located in Awantipora in South Kashmir, considered a sensitive area from the terrorism point of view.
Whenever Dhoni is in Hyderabad to play cricket matches, he would make it a point to call on Army officials and have shooting practice at the NSG hub here. “He visits the NSG hub here for pistol shooting. When he is in Delhi, he goes to Manesar (NSG headquarters) to sharpen his shooting skills. He has often played basketball and volleyball with the soldiers,” says an officer based in Hyderabad.
He says that whenever Dhoni is in the garrison, he completely gels with the Army culture. “The last time he was at the garrison, his personal assistant offered him the usual bottled water. He refused that and told them that he would drink the water which other officials and soldiers were drinking. He is a true soldier,” said the officer adding that Dhoni says that he would like to be permanently commissioned in the Army.
“Dhoni will be treated the same way as other Army officers are treated. There is no question of preferential treatment for him. If he is found lacking in his duties, he will be pulled up by his seniors,” the official added.
Dhoni was accorded the the honour by the Army in 2011. He is a qualified para-trooper and has done parachute training jumps at the Agra camp.
Among other prominent personalities who hold honorary ranks in the Territorial Army are Rajasthan Deputy Chief Minister Sachin Pilot and BJP MP Anurag Thakur.