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Know the gallantry awards of India

Looking for a complete list of Gallantry awards given to the Indian Armed Forces? Since 1950, many armed forces personnel have received various gallantry awards for their courage, valour, and bravery in the face of extreme danger. This article provides the details of the gallantry awards, both during war & in peace times.

In India, we celebrate Armed Forces Day on 7th December. In addition, we celebrate Air Force Day on 8th October, Navy Day on 4th December and Army Day on 15th January, every year. On these occasions, we remember those people who protect our territorial sovereignty from external aggression. On these days, we remember the gallantry award winners who fought with extreme courage for the sake of protecting the honour of Mother India.

Very recently, we have celebrated Army Day on 15th January, 2018. Like every year, we have paid our respects to the gallantry award winners of Indian Army. In this article, I am going to describe various gallantry awards which are awarded to recognize the valour, bravery, and courage of Indian armed forces personnel.

Two types of gallantry awards

In India, there are two types of gallantry awards, viz., Wartime gallantry awards and Peacetime gallantry awards.

Wartime gallantry awards

Param Vir Chakra

It is the highest Wartime gallantry award conferred to the personnel of armed forces for their acts of extreme bravery, valour, courage or self-sacrifice to save others in front of the enemy. The award was constituted in 1950. Major Somnath Sharma of Kumaon Regiment was the first awardee of Param Vir Chakra (posthumous). Captain Vikram Batra of J&K Light Infantry has been the last recipient (posthumous).

Till date, only twenty-one personnel have received this award. Out of this twenty-one, only one was from Indian Air Force and all other twenty belong to Indian Army.

Mahavir Chakra

This is the second highest wartime gallantry award. It is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in presence of the enemy, whether on land, at sea or in air. Lt. Col. Dewan Ranjit Rai, Diwan Singh, Chand Singh and Bishan Singh were the first recipients of Mahavir Chakra in 1947 Kashmir operation.

Vir Chakra

This is third in order of wartime gallantry awards. It is given for an act of gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land, in sea or in air. Subedar N. Bheemiah was the first Vir Chakra recipient, awarded during the Kashmir operation in 1947.

Peacetime gallantry awards

Ashoka Chakra

It is the highest peacetime gallantry award. It has equal importance as that of Param Vir Chakra. Till now, 58 personnel have received Ashoka Chakra.

Kirti Chakra

It is the second-highest peacetime gallantry award. It is peacetime equivalent of Mahavir Chakra. This is awarded for bravery during anti-insurgency operations.

Shauriya Chakra

It is peacetime equivalent of Vir Chakra. Before 1967, Shuriya Chakra was known as 'Ashoka Chakra Part 3'.

Final comments

In addition to these gallantry awards, there are three wartime/peacetime service awards, viz., Sena Medal, Nao Sena Medal, and Vayusena Medal.

Further, Wartime Distinguished Service Medals are Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal, Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, and Yudh Seva Medal. The younger generation of the country must know about these gallantry awards and must know the saga of the gallantry of the recipients of these awards. This would definitely encourage them to serve the country in every capacity, under every circumstance.

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