In an email conversation with Maj Gen (Dr) G D Bakshi, We requested him to write a few lines on 2/Lt Arun Khetrapal on the occasion of his Birthday.
We are sharing what he wrote to us:
In the Words of Maj Gen (Dr) G D Bakshi:
2 Lt Arun Khetrapal PVC was our course mate at the NDA. We remember him as a tall and exceptionally handsome young man who was good at Basketball and water- polo. He joined the renowned 17 Poona Horse tank regiment just 6 months before the war. He had not done even the basic YOs course when the war began. His Commandant, the famous Col (Later Lt Gen) Hanut Singh felt it would not be right to take him in to battle.
He met his commandant and pleaded with him to trust him. He joined the war. His Unit was tasked to support an infantry brigade that was attacking across the Basantar river. The enemy had laid extensive minefields. Suddenly a Pakistani Tank Brigade counter- attacked our Infantry in the bridgehead. Responding to the desperate calls of the infantry under attack, Col Hanut decided to simply bash through the minefield along with half his regiment.
Khetrapal’s troop was assigned the most vulnerable flank. it was here that Arun’s troop was attacked by a Brigade of Pakistani tanks. Arun destroyed two enemy tanks and beat back the attack. The enemy regrouped and attacked again. His troops other two tanks were hit.
His own Tank caught fire and He was asked to abandon the burning Tank. He refused and with steely determination went on to destroy three more enemy Patton tanks.
Finally he was killed fighting but he stopped the enemy attack in its tracks. It was a major victory. Arun was awarded the Param Vir Chakra , posthumously.
Today he has become a legend in the annals of the Indian army.
Maj Gen (Dr) G D Bakshi