The government is likely to seek an explanation from army chief General Bikram Singh for accepting a US military award, without seeking clearance from the defence ministry.
General Singh was conferred with the Legion of Honour --- the sixth highest US military honour --- during an official visit to the US from December 2 to 5.
A source said the army chief would be asked to explain why he received the award without seeking approval. Singh, however, is not the first service chief to have been conferred with the award.
Four former chiefs, including the legendary Field Marshal KM Kariappa, have received the same award for outstanding services and achievements.
"We are not aware of this development. But it would have been discourteous on the part of the army chief to refuse the award," a senior officer said.
He said General Singh was not aware that he would be given an award. That could have led to the protocol goof-up.
The defence ministry came to know that General Singh had been given the award only through media reports. Service chiefs are required to seek the government's clearance before receiving honours from foreign governments.