In an unusual gesture, General Bipin Rawat, the Army Chief, is likely to be conferred with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, the highest medal for services (that do not relate to gallantry in battle to armed forces officers) according to The Times Of India.
Usually, it is the Army Chief himself who awards the medal, to senior lieutenant generals or their equivalent in the Navy or the IAF (Indian Air Force) but in this scenario, the nomination has directly come from the Defence Ministry, according to top government sources.
General Rawat was not awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM) when he served as the Southern Army Commander or Vice Chief of Army Staff. Normally, chiefs are recruited when they already have a PVSM. This was likely to be the last opportunity for him to be awarded the PVSM as he would have called it quits before the next Republic Day.
It has been said that there were two opportunities for him to have received the award in January 2017 and in 2018 but he did not receive the award. But this time, the Defence Ministry, led by Nirmala Sitharaman, decided to award the PVSM to General Rawat on this Republic Day celebrations.
Currently, the Army Chief has been awarded the UYSM or Uttam Yudh Seva Medal. The Ati Vishisht Seva Medal (AVSM), the Yudh Seva Medal (YSM), the Sena Medal (SM)–a gallantry award, and the Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM). The chief retires on December 31 this year.
(With inputs from TOI and TimesNow)