The Government of India instituted military gallantry awards known as the Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra on January 26, 1950 to reward military personnel for their commendable service to the nation after India achieved independence in 1947.
It later introduced the Ashoka Chakra Class-I, the Ashoka Chakra Class-II and the Ashoka Chakra Class-III on January 4, 1952. In January, 1967, these awards were renamed as the Ashoka Chakra, the Kirti Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra respectively. Awards was given by the President and Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces.
The awards, granted by the Ministry of Defense, include the Chakra series which is divided into two parts. War Time gallantry awards include the Param Vir Chakra, Maha Vir Chakra and Vir Chakra, while the Peace Time gallantry awards include the Ashok Chakra, Kirti Chakra and Shaurya Chakra.
When are they awarded?
The government announces the gallantry awards twice every year — on Republic Dayand Independence Day. The Param Vir Chakra is the highest gallantry award followed by the Ashoka Chakra, Mahavir Chakra, Kirti Chakra, Vir Chakra and Shaurya Chakra.
The Indian military gallantry awards presented to the soldiers of Indian Armed force is divided into two main categories. The first is War Time Gallantry Awards and and second is Peace Time Gallantry Awards.
What is War Time Gallantry Awards
These awards are given to the people serving in the Indian Armed forces for their distinguished services during the war on the battlefield. It is to appreciate the efforts of the soldiers for the courage which they have displayed while fighting battles and facing enemies.
Param Vir Chakra– Param Vir Chakra is regarded as the highest War-time gallantry award. It is awarded to the officers or the listed personnel of the Indian Armed Forces. The award was started on 26th January 1950 to praise the bravery and valour shown by a soldier on the battlefield while facing the enemy. Till date, 20 soldiers from the Army and 1 from the Navy have received the Param Vir Chakra.
The Param Vir Chakra is awarded for displaying distinguished acts of valour during wartime and is equivalent to the Medal of Honor in the United States and the Victoria Cross in the United Kingdom.
Maha Vir Chakra– It is the second highest War-time military decoration offered to the soldiers of the Indian Armed forces. The award is given to the soldiers who show exceptional courage, selflessness, and valour while facing the enemy. More than 155 MVC’s have been awarded since the inception of this award.
It is the second highest War-time military decoration offered to the soldiers of the Indian Armed forces. The award is given to the soldiers who show exceptional courage, selflessness, and valour while facing the enemy. More than 155 MVC’s have been awarded since the inception of this award.
Vir Chakra– Vir Chakra is awarded to recognize the courage and valour of a soldier in the battlefield whether in the air, water or on the ground. This award is third in preference after the Param Vir Chakra and the Vir Chakra.
What is Peace Time Gallantry Awards
These awards are presented for the “most conspicuous bravery or some daring or pre-eminent valour or self-sacrifice”. The Peace Time Gallantry Awards are conferred for showing courage when there is no war as such and soldiers are away from the battlefield.
Ashoka Chakra- It is the highest decoration under the category of Peace Time Gallantry Awards. It has equal significance as that of Param Vir Chakra. The only difference is, this award is presented to recognise the contribution of soldiers away from the battlefield. Till date, there have been 58 recipients of this award.
Kirti Chakra– Kirti Chakra is the peace time equivalent to Maha Vir Chakra. This award is normally presented for bravery shown during work such as counter insurgency operations.
Shaurya Chakra- Shaurya Chakra is the peace time equivalent of Vir Chakra. Earlier before 1967, the award was known as “Ashoka Chakra Part 3”. This award is also given to the soldiers or police officers for their supreme bravery away from the battlefield.