This is the third time an IAF officer is receiving the Ashok Chakra after Flight Lieutenant Suhas Biswas (1953) and Wing Commander Rakesh Sharma (1984). President Ram Nath Kovind handed over Nirala's award to his wife Sushma Nand and mother Malti Devi.
The gallant recipients of other prestigious honors
The Ashok Chakra is one of the 390 gallantry awards approved by Kovind this year. These include the Kirti Chakra, the second highest peacetime gallantry award, which went to Major Vijayant Bist of the J&K Light Infantry.
The Shaurya Chakras, the third highest honor, was conferred on Corporal Nilesh Kumar Nayan and Sergeant Khairnar Milind Kishor, both posthumous, and 12 others.