Special Service Medal

Instituted to recognize special services by the Indian military which could not easily be recognized by existing medals.

For police recipients, these medals have not normally been officially manufactured and issued, but were, instead, made locally by independent manufacturers and the policemen can either buy them from these shops or the battalions buy it and give it to the qualifying constables. This gives rise to great variability in manufacture and even in design details.

Established: 1986.

Obverse: Circular copper-nickel, 35 mm. In the center, within a sunburst (outer) and wreath (inner), the State emblem. Above and below, there is the legend " Vishesh Seva Medal [Hindi] / SPECIAL SERVICE MEDAL". Suspended by a non-swiveling straight bar and usually named on the edge.

Reverse: In the center, within a sunburst (outer) and wreath (inner), a dove flying to the left above a mountain range.

Ribbon: 30 mm, medium blue-gray with 6.5 mm red edges.


  • Shrilanka - For "Operation Pawan," peacekeeping service in northern and eastern Sri Lanka, 1987-90, as apart of the Indian Peacekeeping Force (IPKF). Awarded to army, navy, and air force personnel for services in Sri Lanka. Around 200,000 Indian troops served in "Operation Pawan". Recipients of this bar also received the Videsh Seva Medal with bar for Sri Lanka. This is the bar depicted above, and is the only bar to have bneen issued for this medal to date.

  • Rakshak - Awarded for security service in the Punjab, in Jammu and Kashmir, and in the northeastern areas of India. As far as service in the Punjab is concerned (and especially with regard to "Operation Bluestar"), this bar replaces the Punjab Ribbon. To date, this bar has not been awarded.