On the eve of India's 71st Republic Day, President Ram Nath Kovind approved awards of 409 gallantry and other defence decorations for officials from the armed forces.
Amongst them, Captain A Ranjith Kumar of the 23rd battalion, Parachute Regiment was selected for the Army's Sena Medal (Gallantry).
According to a report by The Hindu, Kumar has been selected for his role in an operation in Kashmir. The report adds that he was involved in an operation that saw key extremists eliminated.
“We spent about two years collecting intelligence and planning our strategy. We coordinated with various government agencies," he was quoted as saying.
Now, some might recall that a few years ago former team India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni had become a Honorary Lieutenant Colonel in the Parachute Regiment of the Territorial Army. He was accorded this honour alongside Abhinav Bindra and Deepak Rao.
More recently, in 2019, he made himself unavailable for a tour of West Indies in order to spend the better part of the next two months with his regiment.
According to a July 2019 tweet by ANI that touched upon Dhoni's military responsibilities, he was to take up duties of patrolling, guard and post duty and was slated to stay with troops.
It is through the Regiment that he became acquainted with Kumar. The latter recalls playing carrom and table tennis with the cricketer.
“We met during our para jumps. He is a good friend and like a mentor. After my father and my school, Dhoni has been a great source of support and motivation,” Kumar was quoted as saying by The Hindu.
Reportedly, in 2015, Dhoni became a qualified paratrooper.
In order to qualify he had to complete five parachute training jumps from Army aircrafts.
In 2011, after being given the rank, Dhoni had revealed that joining the Army was something that he had wanted to do since childhood.
"I used to visit the cantonment area and seeing the soldiers I used to think that one day I will also be among them," he was quoted as saying by reports.