Several members of the Indian Army’s commando team that launched a surgical strike inside Myanmar in June are among the winners of this year’s gallantry awards.
Team leader Lt Col Nectar Sanjenbam from 21 Para is one of the two winners of Kirti Chakra – the nation’s second highest peace time gallantry award. The second Kirti Chakra went to Naib Subedar Rajesh Kumar from Rashtriya Rifles, who died fighting the militants in Jammu and Kashmir.
Ten Shaurya Chankras were given to the brave hearts, who fought for the nation. Three Shaurya Chankras were given to Jammu and Kashmir Police and Central Reserve Police Force personnel on the recommendation of the Union Home Ministry.
Commandant Chandra Shekhar Joshi, commander of Indian Coast Guard ship ICGS Rajratan that was involved in an operation off Gujarat, leading to sinking of a Pakistani boat was among those who won a gallantry award.
The operation had run into controversy after a senior Coast Guard officer B K Loshali claimed that he ordered blowing up of the Pakistani boat, contrary to government’s claims that the Pakistani crew had set the boat on fire.
Two Navy officers, Commander Mohan Milind Mokashi, commanding officer of INS Sumitra, and Captain Rajesh Dhankhar, commanding officer of INS Mumbai, which led the rescue operation of stranded Indians from war-ravaged Yemen also selected for the award.
Havildar Tanka Kumar Limbu of the 21 Para and a member of the surgical strike team got the Shaurya Chakra. Other awardees include Col M N Rai, Havaldar Man Bahadur Chhetri, head constable of J&K police Mohammad Shafi Sheikh, constable Reyaz Ahmad Lone and CRPF officer Hira Kumar (all posthumous).
From the IAF, Wing Commander Sandeep Singh received Shaurya Chakra for successfully executing a risky casualty evacuation mission in the forests of Bastar in Chhatishgarh, braving the bullets from naxalites.
Besides the Kirti and Shaurya Chakras, there was one Bar to Sena Medal (Gallantry), 49 Sena Medals (Gallantry), two Nao Sena Medals (Gallantry) and three Vayu Sena Medals (Gallantry).