Born in Pune, 2nd Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal of the 17 Poona Horse regiment is yet another braveheart who died too young at the age of 21. He died in the Battle of Basantar during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971, where his brave actions earned him the Param Vir Chakra posthumously.
Khetarpal showed immense courage and strong will when Pakistani armour, which was superior in strength, counterattacked at Jarpal, in the Shakargarh sector, in December, 1971. Though Khetarpal was in a different squadron, he rushed to help, moving towards the enemy, overrunning the defences with his tanks, and capturing Pakistani infantry and weapons.
When the commander of his troops was killed, Khetarpal continued to attack the enemy fiercely until the latter’s tanks started pulling back. Khetarpal even managed to destroy one of the withdrawing tanks.
But the enemy reformed their armour and prepared for a second attack. This time they targeted the sector held by Khetarpal. The attack was severe and swift. Khetarpal was wounded but managed to hit 10 enemy tanks. He was asked to abandon his tank but realised that if he left it the enemy would break through. He fought courageously and destroyed another enemy tank. But then his own tank received another hit, which resulted in the death of this courageous officer.
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