New Delhi: Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who is also an Honorary Lt Col in the Territorial Army, Tuesday chose to give the organisation's annual parade here a miss, sparking off a debate whether celebrities should be conferred such titles or not.
The incident comes in the backdrop of IAF's unhappiness over both, Honorary Group Captain Sachin Tendulkar and Dhoni, not availing its offer of flying in their premier Su-30MKI aircraft.
The IAF yesterday suggested it would not be able to fly the duo in any of their fighter jets in near future as the service was "very busy".
Dhoni was conferred with the title of Honorary Lt Col in November last year while Tendulkar was inducted into the Air Force as an Honorary Group Captain in September 2010.
When Defence Minister A K Antony was asked about the commitment of celebrities such as Dhoni towards the volunteer Army, he said, "The fact is that most of them are devoting their time and energy for the Territorial Army battalions."
"They are inspiration to the young people and that is why more and more people are joining. The latest of them is Sachin Pilot and just now I saw Kapil Dev... We are not inducting everybody. After careful scrutiny only, we are entering people," Antony said.
Asked if the motive behind inducting people such as Tendulkar and Dhoni was getting killed due to their lack of commitment, the Defence Minister said, "I am saying that most of the people are active. Even today you saw Kapil Dev, he is here. Why are you people not seeing this? Maj Sunil Sawant, Brig KP Singhdeo and many others come to the TA. Don't forget their names."