Our soldiers live and fight for the nation under unimaginable conditions. Siachen glacier, the highest military outpost in world, is a river of ice. It is our battlefront against intruders who dare to challenge the nation’s independence. Out there, our soldiers have to fight the enemy, the low temperatures, as well as loneliness. This region affects every part of the human body. A soldier is likely to suffer from pulmonary oedema, cerebral oedema and stress polycytheamia (a condition that leads to an increase in red blood cells).
Major Somnath Sharma of the Kumaon Regiment was first recipient of the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), India’s highest military decoration. He laid down his life trying to save Srinagar from a Pakistan attack. He was given the award posthumously in November 1947.
Colonel Chewang Rinchen is India’s youngest recipient of the Maha Vir Chakra (MVC). He was only 17 years old when he won it in 1948. He was a student when he volunteered to join the Army to defend Ladakh against Pakistani intruders. He received another MVC in 1971 when he led his unit to capture one of the highest posts in the world at 5609 meters.
Lieutenant Arvind Singh of the Indian Marine Special Force won the Maha Vir Chakra for his role in the IPKF operations against the LTTE. He swam underwater for over a mile to destroy LTTE speedboats.
Squadron Leaders Trevor Keelor and Denzil Keelor were awarded the Vir Chakra (VC) in 1965 for their bravery in the war against Pakistan. They shattered the myth that Pakistani Sabre Jets were superior to Indian Gnats.
Flying officer Nirmal Jit Singh sekhon is the only winner of the Parama Vir Chakra in the Air force. In December 1971, he was on duty when Pakistani Sabre Jets attacked Srinagar airfield. He continued to fight single –handedly. His aircraft crash and he was awarded the PVC posthumously.
*Parama Vir Chakra was designed in 1949-50 by Eva Savitribai Khanolkar, a Swedish-born lady, married to an Indian army officer. She chose the vajra as its symbol. The vajra, in Indian mythology, was a deadly weapon which could produce thunderbolt.
*caption Vikram (13 J and K Rifles), Lt Manoj Kumar pandey (Gorkha Rifles)-both posthumously; grenadier Yogendro Singh Yadav (18 Grenadiers) and Rifleman Sanjay Kumar (13 J and K Rifles) were honored with the Param Vir Chakra in 1999 for displaying valor of the highest order during the Kargil War.