Army Chief Gen. Bipin Rawat is among 19 senior army officials who have been conferred the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, the highest military medal awarded in recognition of peace-time services not relating to gallantry.
Fifteen lieutenant generals and three major generals have also been awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM).
The defence ministry also announced Kirti Chakra — India’s second highest peacetime gallantry award — for Major Tushar Gauba from the Jat Regiment and Sowar Vijay Kumar ((posthumously)) from 22 Rashtriya Rifles.
Besides, President Ram Nath Kovind approved one Ashoka Chakra, which is the highest gallantry award in peacetime, two Kirti Chakra, the second highest peacetime gallantry award, nine Shaurya Chakras and 109 Sena medals for the Army personnel.
Almost all commanders who became Army chief in the past four decades had been decorated with the award before their appointment to the top post, according to defence experts.
Major Gauba has been given the award for displaying “unparallel bravery” while dealing with a group of terrorists along the Line of Control in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir in May last year.
“In close combat undeterred by the terrorists fire, he killed three militants. His act of unparalleled bravery under heavy terrorist fire, tactical acumen and swift action resulted in elimination of three hardcore terrorists,” said an Army official.
Lt Col Vikrant Prasher of 10 Parachute Regiment (Special Forces), Major Amit Kumar Dimri from 14 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Imliakum Keitzar from 4th Gorkha Rifles, Major Rohit Lingwal of 9th Battalion, Parachute Regiment, Capt Abhinav Kumar Choudhary from 21 Rashtriya Rifles, Lance Naik Ayyub Ali from 9th battalion of Rashtriya Rifles, Sepoy Ajay Kumar, 42nd battalion of Rashtriya Rifles, and Sapper Mahesh HN, 44th Battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles also won the Shaurya Chakra.