The Ati Vishsish Seva Medal is awarded to recognize "distinguished service of an exceptional order" to all ranks of the armed forces. The award may be granted posthumously and subsequent awards are represented by a bar worn on the ribbon. The award carries with it the right to use "A.V.S.M." as postnominal letters.
The Ati Vishisht Seva Medal was originally established as the "Vishisht Seva Medal, Class II" and only on 27 January 1967 was it renamed and the badge redesigned as detailed below.
In 1980, the Uttam Yudh Seva Medal was created to recognize distinguished services in an opertional environment. Since that date, awards of the A.V.S.M. have been restricted to non-operational service.
Established: 26 January 1960, by the President of India, as the "Vishisht Seva Medal, Class II." The statutes were revised on 30 April 1962 to clarify the fact that awards were made by the President of India (which had only been implied in the original statutes). The award was further revised and renamed on 27 January 1967.
Obverse: A 35-mm circular silver medal, with a five-pointed star in the center. Suspended from a straight-bar suspender. Named on the edge.
Reverse: The state emblem with the name of the decoration in Hindi above. Until 1967, this would have been "Vishisht Seva Medal", the class being implied by the metal in which the decoration was produced. After 1967, the name was altered, predictably, to "Ati Vishisht Seva Medal".
Ribbon: 32 mm, yellow with two 1 mm dark blue stripes. Yellow 10 mm, dark blue 1 mm, yellow 10 mm, dark blue 1 mm, yellow 10 mm.
Awards: To understand the award better, a sample recipient would be Brigadier Naveen Chandra Rawlley: "He organized and set up the Haile Selassie I Military Academy at Harar (Ethiopia) and was its first commandant."