Awarded to all members of the Indian Navy "for such individual acts of exceptional devotion to duty or courage as have special significance for the Navy." The medal may be awarded posthumously and bars are authorized for subsequent awards of the Nao Sena Medal.
In effect, the Nao Sena Medal serves as a sort of general commendation medal for the Indian Navy. In some cases, it is also awarded for gallantry. From 1 February 1999, the central government set a monthly stipend of Rs. 250 for recipients of the award when it is awarded for bravery.
Established: By the President of India, 17 June 1960. Statutes modified 15 May 1961. Proposals and designs were advanced for a pentagonal design, but it was never issued (except as a miniature medal).
Obverse: The medal was originally described as a pentagonal silver medal, with concave edges, but it appears this design was never issued (except as specimens and miniatures?) and the design was altered in May 1961. The medal as finally issued is a 35-mm circular silver medal with the naval crest (a naval crown) on the obverse. The medal is suspended by an ornate straight-bar and is named and usually dated on the edge.
Reverse: Originally, to have been a trident, points upward, within a loop of rope. In 1951, this was altered to crossed anchors, partially surrounded by a chain cable. Above, in Hindi "Nao Sena Medal".
Ribbon: 32 mm, dark blue with a 2 mm white central strips. Dark blue 15 mm, white 2 mm, dark blue 15 mm.
Awards: To understand the award better, a sample recipient would be Leading Seaman Lal Bahadur Mishra, Indian Navy: "During the diving operations at Bhakra Dam, in September 1959, Leading Seaman Lal Bahadur Mishra, a member of the naval diving team, displayed outstanding bravery and undaunted courage in shackling crane-wires on to the collapsed gate of the hoist-chamber. Leading Seaman Mishra had to work long hours under-water in strong currents which made the operation extremely hazardous. But, in spite of this, he managed to shackle the crane-wires to the collapsed gate. He was pulled out unconscious on two occasions but he persisted till he achieved his objective."