New Delhi, Aug 15 :
India’s highest peacetime gallantry award Ashoka Chakra will be conferred on Major Mukund Varadarajan posthumously, the defence ministry said.
The officer from the 44th battalion of Rashtriya Rifles laid down his life in a gun battle after killing three Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Jammu and Kashmir earlier this year.
President Pranab Mukherjee, who is also the supreme commander of the armed forces, has approved 55 gallantry awards, including 12 Shaurya Chakras, 39 Sen a Medals, one Nao Sena Medal and two Vayu Sena Medals, a defence ministry release said Thursday on the eve of the 68th Independence Day.
The release said Varadarajan laid down his life while leading an anti-terrorist search operation in Qazipathri village in Jammu and Kashmir.
“During the operation, before attaining martyrdom, Varadarajan displayed exemplary leadership skills, raw courage planning and swift action which culminated with the elimination of the three top ranked Hizbul terrorists,” it said.
Four of the 12 Shaurya Chakra awards would be conferred posthumously.
The recipients of Shaurya Chakras were Major Abhishek Kumar, Major Manohar Singh Bhati, Major Satnam Singh, Major Vishal Singh Raghav, Subedar Prakash Chand (posthumous), Naik Ansaigra Basumatary, Lance Naik Bharat Kumar Chhetri, Sepoy Vikram (posthumous) and Rifleman Prem Bahadur Roka Magar.
Indian Navy personnel awarded the Shaurya Chakra were Lieutenant Commander Manoranjan Kumar (posthumous) and Lieutenant Commander Kapish Singh Muwal (posthumous).
Wing Commander Huvey Upadhyaya of the Indian Air Force will also be conferred with the Shaurya Chakra.
The Nao Sena Medal will be conferred upon Commander Gosavi Kaustubh Vijay Kumar while Wing Commander Abhyankar Aniket Santosh and Wing Commander Rahul Shukla will be given the Vayu Sena Medal.
The president has also awarded 26 Mention-in-Despatches to army personnel for their significant contributions in different military operations, which include 21 for ‘Operation Rakshak’, one for ‘Operation Meghdoot’, three for ‘Operation Rhino’ and one for ‘Operation Hifazat’.