The Indian Army soldiers who carried out surgical strikes along the Line of Control with Pakistan were conferred gallantry awards on Wednesday. One Kirti Chakra – India’s second-highest peacetime gallantry award – five Shaurya Chakras, which is the third-highest such award, and 13 Sena Medals were given to 19 personnel of the 4 Para and 9 Para battalions of the Special Forces, The Indian Express reported.
As the LoC operation remains classified, the Army did not release the citations for the acts that won them the honours, as is the norm. In addition to the gallantry awards, 12 jawans from these battalions were given Mention in Despatches, which gives recognition to distinguished and meritorious services and acts of bravery.
On September 29, the Indian Army said it had carried out surgical strikes on seven terror launchpads along the LoC. An official told The Indian Express that that releasing the citations would “let everything be known about the operation, including tactics”. “Special Forces operations have to be kept secret,” the official said.
With details of the mission kept classified, reports mention varying figures for the number of soldiers involved in the operation. The gallantry awards were handed to 22 jawans who carried out the surgical strikes, according to NDTV.
President Pranab Mukherjee had approved 398 gallantry awards and other defence decorations to armed forces personnel and others on the eve of the 68th Republic Day, according to a statement from the Defence Ministry. The Indian Navy got three gallantry awards and the Indian Coast Guard seven, The Hindu reported.