The Armed Forces of India are eligible for a myriad of military decorations. Decorations are awarded for extraordinary bravery and courage, as well as distinguished service during times of war and peace. Service and campaign medals have been awarded throughout the history of India as an independent state.
Mention in Dispatches has been used since 1947, in order to recognize distinguished and meritorious service in operational areas and acts of gallantry which are not of a sufficiently high order to warrant the grant of gallantry awards.
Elegible personnel include all Army, Navy and Air Force personnel including personnel of the Reserve Forces, Territorial Army, Militia and other lawfully constituted Armed Forces, members of the Nursing Service and Civilians working under or with the Armed Forces.
Personnel can be mentioned in dispatches posthumously and multiple awards are also possible. A recipient of a Mention in a Despatch is be entitled to wear an emblem, in the form of a lotus leaf on the ribbon of the relevant Campaign Medal. They are also issued with an official certificate from the Ministry of Defence.
All three branches of the military issue Commendation Cards, which are badges awarded for "individual acts of gallantry or distinguished service or devotion to duty performed either in operation or non-operational areas which are not of a sufficiently high order to qualify for a higher gallantry award or for which the higher award is inappropriate. The award will be for a specific act of bravery or distinguished service or special service. The award will not be made posthumously."