President Pratibha Patil on Tuesday awarded three Ashok Chakras, the country's highest gallantry award in peacetime, ahead of the 61st Republic Day parade that started amid swirling clouds of mist.
Two of the awards were posthumous - for Major Mohit Sharma and Havildar Rajesh Kumar. They were received by their wives, Major Rishima Sharma and Meeta Kumar respectively.
The third Ashok Chakra was awarded to Major D Sreeram Kumar.
On arrival at the saluting dais at the Rajpath, along with the chief guest for the occasion, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, Patil was received by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Defence Minister AK Antony and the three service chiefs.
The President's Bodyguard presented the national salute, the national anthem was played and the tricolour was unfurled.
Earlier, Manmohan Singh paid tribute to the unknown soldier at the India Gate war memorial.