The Armed Forces of India are eligible for a myriad of military decorations. Decorations are awarded for extraordinary bravery and courage, as well as distinguished service during times of war and peace. Service and campaign medals have been awarded throughout the history of India as an independent state.

Military medal

Decorations for precedence:

Wartime gallantry awards
Param Vir Chakra (PVC)
Maha Vir Chakra (MVC)
Vir Chakra (VrC)
Peacetime gallantry awards
Ashok Chakra (AC)
Kirti Chakra (KC)
Shaurya Chakra (SC)
Wartime distinguished service medals
Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal (SYSM)
Uttam Yudh Seva Medal (UYSM)
Yudh Seva Medal (YSM)
Peacetime distinguished service medals
Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM)
Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM)
Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM)
Distinguished Service & Gallantry medals
Sena Medal (Army) (SM)
Nausena Medal (Navy) (NM)
Vayusena Medal (Air Force) (VM)

The Service And Campaign Medals

Wound Medal (Parakram Padak)
General Service Medal 1947
Samanya Seva Medal
Special Service Medal
Samar Seva Star
Poorvi Star
Paschimi Star
Operation Vijay Star
Siachen Glacier Medal
Raksha Medal
Sangram Medal
Operation Vijay Medal
Operation Parakram Medal
Sainya Seva Medal
High Altitude Service Medal
Antrik Suraksha Padak
Videsh Seva Medal

Long service awards

Meritorious Service Medal
Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
30 Years Long Service Medal
20 Years Long Service Medal
9 Years Long Service Medal
Territorial Army Decoration
Territorial Army Medal

Independence medals

Indian Independence Medal
50th Independence Anniversary Medal
25th Independence Anniversary Medal

Military reconnaissance and exploration medal

MacGregor Medal[1]

Mention in Dispatches

Mention in Dispatches has been used since 1947, in order to recognize distinguished and meritorious service in operational areas and acts of gallantry which are not of a sufficiently high order to warrant the grant of gallantry awards.[2]

Eligible personnel include all Army, Navy and Air Force personnel including personnel of the Reserve Forces, Territorial Army, Militia and other lawfully constituted Armed Forces, members of the Nursing Service and Civilians working under or with the Armed Forces.[2]

Personnel can be mentioned in dispatches posthumously and multiple awards are also possible. A recipient of a Mention in a Despatch is entitled to wear an emblem, in the form of a lotus leaf on the ribbon of the relevant Campaign Medal. They are also issued with an official certificate from the Ministry of Defence.[2]

Commendation Card

Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card
Chief of Army Staff Commendation Card

All three branches of the military issue Commendation Cards, which are badges awarded for "individual acts of gallantry or distinguished service or devotion to duty performed either in operation or non-operational areas. It is a type of gallantry award. The award will be for a specific act of bravery or distinguished service or special service. The award will not be made posthumously."

All three branches issue Commendations Cards at the level of the highest officer (Chief of the Army Staff, Chief of the Naval Staff and Chief of the Air Staff). The awards at lower levels seem to vary between services.[3][4][5]

Order of wear

The various decorations and medals are worn in the following order:[6][7]

Precedence Award Name Ribbon
1 Bharat Ratna
2 Param Vir Chakra
3 Ashoka Chakra
4 Padma Vibhushan
5 Padma Bhushan
6 Sarvottam Yudh Seva Medal
7 Param Vishisht Seva Medal
8 Maha Vir Chakra
9 Kirti Chakra
10 Padma Shri
11 Sarvottam Jeevan Raksha Padak
12 Uttam Yudh Seva Medal
13 Ati Vishisht Seva Medal
14 Vir Chakra
15 Shaurya Chakra
16 Yudh Seva Medal
17 Sena Medal (for army personnel)
Nau Sena Medal (For naval personnel)
Vayu Sena Medal (For air force personnel)
18 Vishisht Seva Medal
19 Uttam Jeevan Raksha Padak
20 Parakram Padak (Wound Medal)
21 General Service Medal 1947
22 Samanya Seva Medal - 1965
23 Special Service Medal
24 Samar Seva Star - 1965
25 Poorvi Star
26 Paschimi Star
27 Operation Vijay Star Medal
28 Siachen Glacier Medal
29 Raksha Medal – 1965
30 Sangram Medal
31 Operation Vijay Medal
32 Operation Parakram Medal
33 Sainya Seva Medal
34 High Altitude Medal
35 Videsh Seva Medal
36 Meritorious Service Medal
37 Long Service and Good Conduct Medal
38 Jeevan Raksha Padak
39 Territorial Army Decoration
40 Territorial Army Medal
41 Indian Independence Medal - 1947
42 Independence Medal - 1950
43 50th Anniversary of Independence Medal
44 25th Independence Anniversary Medal
45 30 Years Long Service Medal
46 20 Years Long Service Medal
47 9 Years Long Service Medal
48 Commonwealth Awards
49 United Nations Awards
50 Other Awards

Note that the Police Medals, Fire Services Medals, Correctional Services Medals and Home Guards and Civil Defence Medals are excluded from the above list. The above order of precedence of awards is as per the Indian Army. There are slight variations, especially in the campaign medals, in the order followed by the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force.

Wearing medals by the next of kins

An order issued on 11 July 2019 by the Indian Army's "Ceremonial and Welfare Adjutant General's Branch" made it permissible for the close relatives of the deceased military personnel to wear their medals on the right side of chest while attending homage ceremonies at war memorials, cemeteries and funerals. These gallantry or service awards of deceased can be worn by their family members, such as spouses, children, parents, forefathers while wearing civil clothes.[8]

See also


  1. ^ SSBCrack (2017-02-18). "Ever Observed Colorful Ribbons On Soldier's Uniform? Here's What They Mean". SSBCrack. Retrieved 2021-02-18.
  2. ^ a b c "Mention in Dispatches". Indian Army. Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "The Official Home Page of the Indian Army".
  5. ^ "Army's New Norms for Commendation Badges - Livefist". 13 August 2009.
  6. ^ "Precedence Of Medals". Official Website of the Indian Army. Indian Army. Retrieved 19 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Order of Precedence | Indian Navy". Official Website of the Indian Navy. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  8. ^ Indian Army allows next of kin to wear medals of late ex-servicemen during homage ceremonies, India Today, 23 July 2019.