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Recently, group Captain Abhinandan Varthaman was awarded Vir Chakra which is a wartime gallantry award, by the President of India. The gallantry awards are announced twice a year — first on the occasion of Republic Day and then on the occasion of Independence Day.
Gallantry Awards in India (History):
Post-Independence, first three gallantry awards namely Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra were instituted by the government of India on January 26th 1950 which were deemed to have effect from August 15th,1947. Thereafter, other three gallantry awards — the Ashoka Chakra Class-I, the Ashoka Chakra Class-II and the Ashoka Chakra Class-III — were instituted in 1952, which were deemed to have effect from August 15, 1947. These awards were renamed as Ashoka Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra respectively in January 1967.
People Eligible for the Awards:
All officers of all ranks of the Army, Navy and the Air Force or of any of the reserve forces, territorial army and any other lawfully constituted armed forces.
In addition to the above-mentioned personnel, matrons, sisters, nurses, alongside the staff of the nursing services and other services pertaining to hospitals and nursing and civilians, both male and females, serving regularly or temporarily under the orders, directions or supervision of any of the above-mentioned forces.
Wartime Highest Gallantry Awards:
Param Vir Chakra:
It is India’s highest military decoration awarded for displaying distinguished acts of valour during wartime whether on land, at sea or in the air.
Maha Vir Chakra:
It is the second highest gallantry award for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy whether on land, at sea or in the air.
It is the country’s third-highest wartime gallantry award after Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra.
Peacetime Highest Gallantry Awards:
It is the highest military award during peacetime for valour, courageous action or sacrifice.
It is awarded for most conspicuous bravery or some act of daring or pre-eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice otherwise than in the face of the enemy.
It is the second-highest peacetime gallantry award and is awarded for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the field of battle.
It is awarded to the personnel of the armed forces for instances of extraordinary gallantry.
It is awarded for acts of exceptional devotion to duty or courage in the Army.
Nao Sena Medal:
It is awarded for individual acts of exceptional devotion to duty or courage in the Navy.
Vayu Sena Medal:
It is awarded for individual acts of exceptional devotion to duty or courage in the Air Force.