New Delhi, January 25
The President has approved award of 409 Gallantry and other Defence decorations to armed forces personnel and others on the eve of 71st Republic Day celebrations. These include nine Shaurya Chakras, the third highest peace-time gallantry award.
Of the nine, six have been conferred on Army personnel, while three are from Central police organisations under the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The two Indian Air Force pilots, Squadron Leader Ninad Anil Mandavgane and Squadron Leader Siddharth Vashisht, who went down in an Mi-17 helicopter crash on February 27, have been awarded Vayu Medal (Gallantry). Their helicopter was hit by own missile while India and Pakistan were locked in an air duel. On August 14, Vir Chakra was announced for Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.
Vayu Sena Medals have been announced for Wing Commander Amit Ranjan, Squadron Leaders Rahul Basoya, Pankaj Bhujade, BKN Reddy and Shashank Singh, all part of the airstrike team on February 26. Four persons have been awarded Bar to Sena Medals (Gallantry).