Nineteen soldiers of the 4 and 9 Parachute Regiment, the Special Forces units which undertook the daring cross-border surgical strike across the Line of Control, have been awarded gallantry medals, including a Kirti Chakra, while their commanding officers have been given Yudh Sewa Medal. (Click here for full list of gallantry awards)
Major Rohit Suri of 4 Para, who led one of the teams across the LoC targeting terrorists’ launch pads, was awarded the Kirti Chakra, second highest peacetime gallantry award, on the eve of the Republic Day.
Havildar Prem Bahadur Resmi Magar of the Gorkha Rifles got the Kirti Chakra posthumously.
Col Kapil Yadav, commanding officer of 9 Para and Col Harpreet Sandhu, Commanding Officer of 4 Para, were awarded the Yudh Seva Medal, one of India's military decorations awarded to mark distinguished service during war time is awarded for a high degree of distinguished service in an operational content, including times of war, conflict, or hostilities and may also be awarded posthumously.
The award is the wartime equivalent of the Vishisht Seva Medal, which is a decoration for peace time distinguished service.
Five personnel from the two Para units also got Shaurya Chakra while 13 got Sena Medal (Gallantry).
The Army conducted surgical strikes on terrorist launchpads across the Line of Control in September last year, after a terrorist attack on an army camp in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir claimed the lives of 19 jawans.
The strikes were widely hailed by as a strong retaliation, and the Army’s new chief General Bipin Rawat has said it is prepared to use the tactic again if needed.
Those who have been awarded posthumously included Naik Gawade Pandurang Mahadev who has been given Shaurya Chakra.
Lt Col Ranjit Singh Pawar, Major Krishnan Manoj Kumar, Major Amit Deswal Naik Ran Singh, Naik Vijaykumar S, Sepoy Ram Chander of DSC, Sepoy Satya Prakash Singh and Sepoy Satish of DSC along with Signalman Ajay Singh Choudhary were awarded Sena Medal (Gallantry) posthumously.
The President has approved award of 398 gallantry and other defence decorations to armed forces personnel and others on the eve of the 68th Republic Day Celebrations.
This includes two Kirti Chakras, 12 Shaurya Chakras, three Bar to Sena Medal (Gallantry), 91 Sena Medal (Gallantry), two Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry), four Vayu Sena Medal (Gallantry), 29 Param Vishisht Seva Medal, five Uttam Yudh Seva Medal, two Bar to Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, 49 Ati Vishisht Seva Medal, 14 Yudh Seva Medal, four Bar to Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty), 36 Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty), eight Nao Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty), 14 Vayu Sena Medal (Devotion to Duty), four Bar to Vishisht Seva Medal and 119 Vishisht Seva Medal.
The President has also approved seven awards to Indian Coast Guard Personnel for gallantry, meritorious service and distinguished service.
Three Tatrakshak Medal (Gallantry) have been awarded to Commandant Anwar Khan, Pardeep and Sandeep.
One President’s Tatrakshak Medal (Distinguished Service) has been awarded to Inspector General Virender Singh Pathania.
Three Tatrakshak Medal (Meritorious Service) have been awarded to Deputy Inspector General Satyajit Krishnaji Vaidya, Deputy Inspector General Shajen Kurian and Commandant Jashbir Singh Randhaawaa.
Besides these, 44 personnel from Army and others have also been awarded 'Mention-in Despatches’ by the Government, which include four for 'Operation Meghdoot', 32 for ‘Operation Rakshak’, five for ‘Operation Rhino’, two for ‘Operation Orchid’ and one for ‘Operation Hifazat’.
Among other recipients of the gallantry awards, Ashu Singh, Chief Mechanical Engineer, was awarded Shaurya Chakra posthumously while Rakesh Kumar, Hull Artificer was awarded Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry) posthumously.
On March 6 last year, an incident of deck head lagging fire accompanied with heavy smouldering occurred in the ‘B’ Boiler Room of INS Viraat.
The sailor showed exemplary courage and presence of mind in safeguarding machinery by taking correct procedural step in crash stopping B1 boiler which was last in use and securing other machinery in the vicinity, a Navy statement said.
He took lead role in successfully fighting the fire relentlessly for 35 minutes with all other watch keepers and Standing Sea Fire Party in the extreme harsh conditions with intense heat and heavy smoke without thinking about his own safety thereby averting a major disaster.
He also safeguarded the life of other fire fighters by guiding them to evacuate boiler room in time.
In the process the sailor, undeterred and unmindful of his own life, safeguarded the life of men and propulsion machinery of the aircraft carrier, displaying conspicuous gallantry, exemplary leadership and presented an example of ‘Service before Self’.
Rakesh Kumar, Hull Artificer 4 of INS Vikramaditya, was part of the team assigned the task of overseeing fitment of a newly fabricated 1.2 m piece of Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) pipe by two civilian contract-workers.
The sailor was assigned the task of connecting and supervising the operation of a submersible pump and was positioned in the Power Generation Room (PGR), one deck above the compartment containing the Cofferdam, with access to the Cofferdam being only through a long vertical ladder that led down from a narrow hatch.
During the pipe-replacement process, the sailor heard someone shouting from the compartment below and saw a civilian emerging from it in a semi-conscious state.
The sailor went down the ladder, picked up the civilian on his shoulder and climbed up the vertical ladder to the PGR, laying him down under an AC vent. He then learnt that the other civilian was also unconscious in the Cofferdam.
Without any thought to his own safety, the sailor clambered down the vertical ladder again and with no hesitation entered the Cofferdam where he saw his team leader wearing an Emergency Life saving Apparatus set and trying to pick up the civilian worker, who was lying prone in the well of the Cofferdam, partly covered with water.
Rakesh, with all his strength, tried to lift the second civilian, but was unable to do so as his clothes were slippery and entangled with deck fittings in the narrow space.
Despite knowing the dangers of the probable presence in the space of toxic gas and its consequences, Rakesh did not relent in his efforts and continued trying to bodily lift the civilian out of the Cofferdam in the hope of saving his life.
He, however, lost track of time, and whilst continuing his vain but valiant efforts, also succumbed to the toxic gas inhalation and collapsed inside the Cofferdam.
He was extricated from the compartment by a rescue team a few minutes later, but was unfortunately declared dead in the hospital, the Navy said.
He has been awarded Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry) posthumously.
Lt Cdr Neeraj Kumar was awarded Nao Sena Medal (Gallantry) for technical and seamanship skills as well as sheer guts displayed by him which ensured successful rescue of a merchant vessel in distress at sea and saved the lives of all 14 seamen of Indian nationality.
Image for representation only. Photograph: PTI Photo