Two valiant army officers Dinesh Raghu Raman and K P Vinay, both Majors in Rashtriya Rifles, who died almost simultaneously while fighting terrorists, have been honoured with the nation's first and second highest peace time awards.
Raman was decorated with Ashok Chakra, the highest peace time award, and Vinay with Kirti Chakra on the occasion of the Republic Day.
In all, 425 officers and men of the armed forces received gallantry and other defence decorations this year.
Braving heavy gunfire from holed up Lashkar-e-Toiba ultras in Ringwari hamlet in Baramulla district in October 2007, the two led their men from the front in a bloody gunfight in which nine militants were killed.
Raman rushed to the scene following intelligence inputs that a big group of terrorists was holed up in a house in the hamlet after managing to sneak across the LoC.
Raman plunged headlong into the terrorist firing line to rescue his colleague Major Vinay in the best tradition of camaraderie in the army.
After slaying a number of terrorists, Raman brought back Major Vinay from the firing line and in the process received shots in his chest and legs.
Vinay succumbed to gunshot wounds on the spot while Raman died later in hospital.
Major Vinay was on the verge of embarking on annual leave to get married, while his pal Major Raman had also applied for leave to join his wife, who was expecting a child.
Raman's father Subedar Major S Krishnamurthy will receive the award for his son's bravery feat from President Pratibha Patil during the Republic Day parade on Saturday.
The President will give away three more Ashok Chakras posthumously to the next of kin of three officers - Col Vasanth V, Capt Harshan R and Naib Subedar Chuni Lal.
The three were awarded the medals last year.
Three more - Major Shatrujeet Kotwal of the Jat Regiment, Major Subash Chand Punia of 21 Special Forces and Sepoy Suresh of the 16 Jat Regiment - have been decorated with the Kirti Chakra.
All the three have been honoured for acts of bravery against militants in Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East.
Thirty officers have been honoured with Param Vishist Seva Medals. They included Lt. Gen. Hardev Singh Lidder, Chief of the Integrated Defence Staff, Lt. Gen. Milan Lalit Kumar Naidu, Vice Chief of the Army Staff, Northern Army Commander Lt. Gen. H S Panag and Lt. Gen. Zameeruddin Shah, Deputy Chief of the Army Staff and elder brother of cine star Nasseruddin Shah.
Also decorated with PVSMs are Vice Admiral Nirmal Verma, Vice Chief of Naval staff who is tipped to become the next Naval Chief, and Lt. Gen. Sudhi Sharma, Master General of Ordnance.