In every sovereign country, there are individuals who are responsible for maintaining the security and sovereignty. In these countries, it is therefore very important for the Government to recognize and reward the acts of bravery, valour and gallantry. In order to serve this purpose, Indian Government has incepted various gallantry awards and honours for deserving defence Personnel and civilians. These are Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra, Vir Chakra, Ashoka Chakra, Kirti Chakra, and Shaurya Chakra.
There are also various Distinguished Service Medals like Sena Medal (Army), Nausena Medal (Navy), Vayusena Medal (Air Force).
War Time Indian Gallantry Awards
- Param Vir Chakra
- Maha Vir Chakra
- Vir Chakra
(1) Param Vir Chakra (PVC)
Param Vir Chakra (PVC) is the highest gallantry award for the officers and other enlisted personnel of all branches of military of India for the highest degree of courage and valour in the presence of the enemies. Introduced on January 25, 1950 (Republic Day of India), this award may be given posthumously. Literally, ‘Param Vir Chakra’ means ‘Wheel (or Cross) of the Ultimate Brave’. In Sanskrit Language, ‘Param’ means Ultimate, ‘Vir’ (pronounced veer) means Brave and ‘Chakra’ means Wheel.
(2) Mahavir Chakra (MVC)
The Mahavir Chakra (MVC) is the 2nd highest military decoration in India, and is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemies, whether on the land, at the sea or in the air. It may be awarded posthumously. Since the inception of the medal, more than 155 acts of bravery and selfless courage have been recognized. The most Mahavir Chakra (MVCs) awarded in a single conflict was in the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, when eleven were to the Indian Air Force.
(3) Vir Chakra
Vir Chakra is an Indian gallantry award given for the acts of bravery in the field of battle. Award of the decoration carried with it the right to use Vr.C. as a post-nominal abbreviation (note the care to distinguish this abbreviation from that for the Victoria Cross (V.C.). It is 3rd in precedence in the war time gallantry awards and comes after the Param Vir Chakra (PVC) and Maha Vir Chakra (MVC).
Peace Time Indian Gallantry Awards
- Ashoka Chakra
- Kirti Chakra
- Shaurya Chakra
(1) Ashok Chakra
The Ashok Chakra series of awards are open to civilians of the country also. The award is the Peacetime equivalent of Paramvir Chakra (PVC) and is awarded for the most conspicuous braveness or some doughty or excellent valour of sacrifice other than in the face of enemies. The decoration may be awarded either to military or civilian personnels and may be awarded posthumously. Recommendations for the award received in respect of civilians from the Governments of states / Departments of the Central Government are processed by the Ministry of Defence of the country for the consideration of the Central Honours and Awards Committee chaired by the Minister of Defence. Three awards are biannual, and are given on the Republic Day (26th January) and Independence Day (15th August).
(2) Kirti Chakra
Kirti Chakra is an Indian military decoration, awarded for the valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the fields of battle. Kirti Chakra may be awarded to the civilians as well as military personnel, including posthumous awards. It is the peacetime equivalent of the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC). It is 2nd in order of precedence of peace time gallantry awards; it comes after Ashoka Chakra, and before Shaurya Chakra. Before the year 1967, the Kirti Chakra award was known as the Ashoka Chakra, Class II award.
(3) Shaurya Chakra
The Shaurya Chakra is an Indian military decoration, awarded for the valour, daring action or self-sacrifice while not engaged in direct action with the enemy. The Shaurya Chakra may be awarded to civilians as well as military personnel, sometimes posthumously. The award is the peace time equivalent of the Vir Chakra, and generally awarded for Counter Insurgency operations and actions against the enemies during peacetime. It is the 3rd in order of precedence of peace time gallantry awards, and comes after the Ashoka Chakra and the Kirti Chakra. The Shaurya Chakra precedes the Sena Medal. Before the year 1967, the award was known as the Ashoka Chakra, Class III award.