23 Facts About Arun Khetarpal


Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal PVC born in Pune, Maharashtra, was an officer of the Indian Army and a posthumous recipient of the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest military decoration for valour in face of the enemy.


Arun Khetarpal was killed in action in the Battle of Basantar in the Battlefield of Shakargarh during the Indo-Pakistan War of 1971 where his actions earned him his honour.


Arun Khetarpal was born in Pune, Maharashtra on 14 October 1950 into a Hindu Punjabi Khatri family.


Arun Khetarpal's family belonged to Sargodha, in present-day Pakistan, and had migrated to India after partition as refugees.


Arun Khetarpal's father Lt Col M L Khetarpal was a Corps of Engineers officer serving in the Indian Army and his family traced a long history of military service, with his grandfather having fought in WW1 and great-grandfather having served in Sikh Khalsa Army.


Arun Khetarpal belonged to Foxtrot Squadron where he was the Squadron Cadet Captain of the 38th Course.


Arun Khetarpal subsequently went on to join the Indian Military Academy.


On 13 June 1971, Khetarpal was commissioned into the 17 Poona Horse.


Arun Khetarpal, who was in 'A' squadron and was stationed close by with his Centurion tank troop, responded with alacrity, as did the rest of his regiment.


Arun Khetarpal rushed to meet the Pakistani armour and launched right into the Pakistani attack.


Alone in charge, Arun Khetarpal continued his attack on the enemy strongholds.


Arun Khetarpal was the second one to be killed after he sustained severe injuries when his tank was knocked out and eventually succumbed to his wounds.


On hearing this transmission, Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal who was in 'A' Squadron, voluntarily moved along with his troops, to assist the other squadron.


Time was at a premium and as critical situation was developing in the 'B' Squadron sector, Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal, threw caution to the winds and started attacking the impending enemy strong points by literally charging them, overrunning the defence works with his tanks and capturing the enemy infantry and weapon crew at pistol point.


Arun Khetarpal was so carried away by the wild enthusiasm of battle and the impetus of his own headlong dash that he started chasing the withdrawing tanks and even managed to shoot and destroy one.


Arun Khetarpal was asked to abandon his tank but he realised that the enemy though badly decimated was continuing to advance in his sector of responsibility and if he abandoned his tank the enemy would break through, he gallantly fought on and destroyed another enemy tank.


Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal was dead but he had, by his intrepid valour saved the day; the enemy was denied the breakthrough he was so desperately seeking.


Second Lieutenant Arun Khetarpal had shown the best qualities of leadership, tenacity of purpose and the will to close in with the enemy.


Arun Khetarpal had a satisfying and nostalgic visit to his old house in Sargodha.


Arun Khetarpal was overwhelmed by the extreme kindness, deference, courtesy and respect bestowed upon him by Brigadier Naser and by all the members of his family and his many servants.


However Brigadier Arun Khetarpal felt that something was amiss but could not make out what it was.


Arun Khetarpal's courage was exemplary and he moved his tank with fearless courage and daring, totally unconcerned about his safety.


Arun Khetarpal was silent as he did not know how to react.