Sigma Mentality: Most Decorated Indian Armed Force Officers

By Dhruv Kumar|Updated : December 6th, 2021

The Indian Armed Forces are eligible for a variety of military decorations. Decorations are given for the exceptional bravery & courage, as well as distinguished service in both the war & peace. Throughout India's independent history, service & campaign medals have been awarded. A decorated war veteran has received military medals, awards, as well as honours. Medals are frequently worn on the uniforms of decorated soldiers. The Latin root for decorated is decus, which means "an ornament."


In this article, we will look briefly at the Indian armed forces' three most decorated officers, their contributions to the country as well as their personnel achievements.

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Most Decorated Armed Forces Officers

Below are the three most decorated armed forces officers namely Brigadier Saurabh Singh Shekhawat, Lieutenant General Prabodh Chandra Bhardwaj, and Lieutenant General Rajendra Ramrao Nimbhorkar in brief.

Brigadier Saurabh Singh Shekhawat

  • Brigadier Saurabh Singh Shekhawat, KC, SM, SC, VSM is a mountaineer & officer in the Indian Army's 21st battalion of the Para (i.e. Special Forces). He is one of the Indian Army's most decorated officers, having received one wartime gallantry award as well as two peacetime gallantry awards.


  • Awards: Shekhawat has received numerous medals for the anti-terrorist operations, mountaineering, & distinguished service, including the Kirti Chakra, Shaurya Chakra, Sena Medal (i.e. Gallantry), Vishisht Seva Medal, as well as Samanya Seva Meda. Shekhawat described himself as the ‘highest decorated serving officer in the army with an unblemished operational profile’ in a letter to Army headquarters in the year 2017.


  • Career:
    • Shekhawat joined the Indian Army as a second lieutenant in the year 1994 after passing the UPSC Combined Defence Services Examination in May 1992.
    • He was promoted to lieutenant on 11thJune 1996 and captain on 11th June 1999.
    • On 11thJune 2007, he was promoted to lieutenant colonel, and on 6th January 2010, he was promoted to colonel (seniority from 1st January). In March month of 2020, he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier.
  • Personnel Life: Saurabh Singh Shekhawat was born in Alwar, Rajasthan on 18thOctober 1970. J.S. Shekhawat is his father's name, and Sreddha is his mother's. Renuka Shekhawat, a Sanskrit professor at Rajasthan University, was Shekhawat's wife.

Lieutenant General Prabodh Chandra Bhardwaj

  • Lieutenant General Prabodh Chandra Bhardwaj, PVSM, AVSM, VrC, SC, VSM is a retired Indian Army General Officer. He most recently served as Vice Chief of Army Staff, taking over on 1stOctober 2009, following the retirement of Lieutenant General Noble Thamburaj. He was also the General Officer Commanding in Chief of Northern Command. He is one of the most decorated officers in the Indian Army, having received both a wartime as well as a peacetime gallantry award.


  • Awards: Bhardwaj received the Vir Chakra as a Second Lieutenant for his actions during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. Bhardwaj was also awarded the Shaurya Chakra as a Colonel for the rescue operation in which tourists trapped in a cable car were rescued in a joint operation undertaken by 1 Para (Commando) as well as the Indian Air Force.
  • Career:
    • On 14thJune 1970, Lieutenant General PC Bhardwaj was commissioned into the 1st battalion of the Parachute Regiment. He attended the National Defence Academy, the Indian Military Academy, the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington, and also the National Defence College.
    • As a Special Operations specialist, he was the first Indian Army member to complete the demanding Commando Divers Course at Naval Diving School. He excelled on the course and was certified as an instructor as a result. He also completed the Special Forces Officers Course at Fort Bragg in the United States, where he earned an instructor rating.
    • After being promoted to Lieutenant General, he commanded XIV Corps, which was in charge of the huge tracts of Ladakh as well as the Siachen Glacier, before taking command of Northern Command on 1stMarch 2008. On 26th January 2009, he was awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal, making him the most decorated soldier in the Indian Army.

Lieutenant General Rajendra Ramrao Nimbhorkar

  • Lieutenant General Rajendra Ramrao Nimbhorkar, Master General of the Ordnance in the Indian Army, has been awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal for the distinguished service, joining the ranks of officers who have received the most medals for gallantry as well as distinguished service.
  • Lt Gen R R Nimbhorkar, presently MGO (Master General of Ordnance) in charge of Army procurements, has become the only serving officer to attain the most gallantry as well as distinguished service awards.


  • Career:
    • In the year 1979, Nimbhorkar was commissioned into the 15 Punjab Regiment. He has served in a variety of operational roles in places such as Leh, Kargil, Kashmir Valley, Poonch, Rajauri, Rajasthan, as well as Northeast India.
    • He has held various command positions, which include 15 Punjab in Jammu & Kashmir; an infantry brigade Naoshera; Rashtriya Rifles; GOC (General Officer Commanding), Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Goa; and GOC-in-C of XVI Corps (Nagrota) in the year 2015 before becoming MGO at Army HQ. He was a United Nations military observer in Angola. On 1stMarch 2015, he was also appointed Colonel of the Punjab Regiment.
    • Nimbhorkar was severely injured while commanding 15 Punjab during Operation Vijay on the Line of Control in Rajouri sector. As a captain, he even captured an enemy post in the Dras sector, and also as a Major, he killed 22 terrorists in the Kashmir distt. of Baramulla.

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