The Vir Chakra is awarded for acts of gallantry in the presence of the enemy, whether on land or at sea or in the air. It is India’s third highest gallantry award, after Param Vir Chakra and Maha Vir Chakra. So far, this award has been conferred to 1322 warriors, in which 958 people have been given posthumously. The award is conferred by the president.
Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, who spent some days in Pakistani custody when his MiG-21 was shot down in a fight with PAF jets a day after the February 26 Balakot airstrike, will be awarded the Vir Chakra on Independence Day i.e. August 15, 2019. History defines gallantry as commanded respect and appreciation. Post-independence, first three gallantry awards namely the Param Vir Chakra, the Maha Vir Chakra and the Vir Chakra were instituted by the Government of India on January 26, 1950 which were deemed to have effect from the August 15, 1947. Thereafter, other three gallantry awards i.e. the Ashoka Chakra Class-I, the Ashoka Chakra Class-II and the Ashoka Chakra Class-III were instituted by the Government of India on January 4, 1952, which were deemed to have effect from the 15th August, 1947.