New Delhi: Army Chief General Bipin Rawat is among 19 senior army officials who have conferred the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, the highest military medal awarded in recognition of peace-time services not relating to gallantry.
Almost all commanders who became Army chief in the past four decades had been decorated with the award before their appointment to the top post, according to defence experts.
Fifteen lieutenant generals and three major generals have also been awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM).
The defence ministry also announced Kirti Chakra -- India's second highest peacetime gallantry award -- for Major Tushar Gauba from the Jat Regiment and Sowar Vijay Kumar ((posthumously)) from 22 Rashtriya Rifles.
Nine army men have been awarded with Shaurya Chakra, the third highest peacetime gallantry award after the Ashoka Chakra and the Kirti Chakra.
Major Gauba has been given the award for displaying "unparallel bravery" while dealing with a group of terrorists along the Line of Control in Kupwara district of Jammu & Kashmir in May last year.
Army officials said he crawled up to 20 metres close to the terrorists under heavy firing and then lobbed a hand grenade. Showing utter disregard to his personal safety, he charged on the terrorists with his weapon.
"In close combat undeterred by the terrorists fire, he killed three militants. His act of unparallel bravery under heavy terrorist fire, tactical acumen and swift action resulted in elimination of three hardcore terrorists," said an Army official.
About Vijay Kumar, Army officials said he was deployed in Baramulla district of Jammu & Kashmir as part of "Operation Vijay Darsu" on August 2-3 last year.
During the operation, Kumar came under heavy fire from a group of heavily armed terrorists. However, despite being injured after killing one terrorist, he refused evacuation and went ahead to eliminate another in hand to hand combat.
He has been posthumously awarded the Kirti Chakra for displaying "indomitable raw courage and exemplary bravery beyond the call of duty".
The Shaurya Chakra awardees included Lieutenant Colonel Vikrant Prasher of 10 Parachute Regiment (Special Forces), Major Amit Kumar Dimri from 14 Rashtriya Rifles, Major Imliakum Keitzar from 4th Gorkha Rifles, Major Rohit Lingwal of 9th battalion, Parachute Regiment and Captain Abhay Sharma, first battalion, Parachute Regiment, according to the defence ministry.
Captain Abhinav Kumar Choudhary from 21 Rashtriya Rifles, Lance Naik Ayyub Ali from 9th battalion of Rashtriya Rifles, Sepoy Ajay Kumar, 42nd battalion of Rashtriya Rifles and Sapper Mahesh HN, 44th battalion of the Rashtriya Rifles also won the Shaurya Chakra.
Three lieutenant generals were chosen for Uttam Yudh Seva Medal while 32 army personnel have been conferred with Ati Vishisht Seva medal and nine with Yudh Seva medal.
According to the defence ministry, 103 Army personnel were awarded the Sena Medal (gallantry), 74 were given Vishisht Seva medal and 35 Army personnel were selected for Sena Medal (distinguished).(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed - PTI)