Prime Minister Narendra Modi has recently named the 21 largest unnamed islands of the Andaman & Nicobar Islands after 21 Param Vir Chakra awardees.


About Param Vir Chakra

  • It is India’s highest military decoration awarded for the highest degree of valour or self-sacrifice in the presence of the enemy.
  • The Param Vir Chakra was introduced on January 26, 1950, on the first Republic Day with retrospective effect from 15 August 1947.
  • Literally, Param Vir Chakra means ‘Wheel (or Cross) of the Ultimate Brave’.
  • It can be awarded posthumously.
  • It is similar to the British Victoria Cross, US Medal of Honor, or French Legion of Honor or Russian Cross of St. George.
  • Design —
      • The medal was designed by Mrs. Savitri Khanolkar.
      • The medal is cast in bronze and circular in shape.
      • In the centre, on a raised circle, is the state emblem, surrounded by four replicas of Indra’s Vajra, flanked by the sword of Shivaji.
      • On its reverse, it shall have embossed Param Vir Chakra both in Hindi and English with two lotus flowers between Hindi and English. The fitting will be swivel mounting.
      • The decoration is suspended from a straight swiveling suspension bar, and is held by a 32 mm purple ribbon.
      • First winner — Major Somanth Sharma, from the Kumaon regiment.
      • Till now, only 21 people had been given the Param Vir Chakra award of which 14 are posthumous.


About the awards

  • Post-independence, first three gallantry awards namely the Param Vir Chakra, the Maha Vir Chakra and the Vir Chakra were instituted by the Government of India on 26th January, 1950 which were deemed to have effect from the 15th August, 1947.
  • The Ashoka Chakra Class-I, the Ashoka Chakra Class-II and the Ashoka Chakra Class-III were instituted by the Government of India on 4th January, 1952, which were deemed to have effect from the 15th August, 1947. These awards were renamed as the Ashoka Chakra, the Kirti Chakra and the Shaurya Chakra respectively in January, 1967.
  • These gallantry awards are announced twice in a year – first on the occasion of the Republic Day and then on the occasion of the Independence Day.
  • Order of precedence of these awards is –
      • Param Vir Chakra
      • Ashoka Chakra
      • Mahavir Chakra
      • Kirti Chakra
      • Vir Chakra
      • Shaurya Chakra
  • Selection Process –
      • Ministry of Defence invites recommendations twice in a year from the Armed Forces and Union Ministry of Home Affairs for gallantry awards.
      • Recommendations in respect of civilian citizens (other than Defence personnel) are received from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
      • Recommendations received from the Armed Forces and MHA are considered by the Central Honours & Awards Committee (CH&AC) comprising of Raksha Mantri, three Service Chiefs & Defence Secretary. Home Secretary is also member for the cases recommended by the Ministry of Home Affairs.