Arun Khetarpal: A Beacon of Courage and Sacrifice

OV Digital Desk

Arun Khetarpal (14 October 1950 – 16 December 1971) was an Indian military officer. Arun Khetarpal was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

Life and Career

Arun Khetarpal was born on October 14, 1950, in Pune, India, to a military family. His father, Brigadier M.L. Khetarpal, served in the Indian Army. Arun Khetarpal grew up with a deep sense of patriotism and a desire to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Arun Khetarpal completed his schooling at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan’s Public School in New Delhi. Known for his exceptional academic and leadership skills, he joined the National Defence Academy (NDA) to become an army officer. He was commissioned into the 17 Poona Horse Regiment of the Indian Army.

Arun Khetarpal’s military career was marked by dedication, bravery, and a sense of duty towards the nation. His actions during the 1971 Indo-Pak War, especially in the Battle of Basantar, earned him the highest military decoration in India, the Param Vir Chakra (PVC).

During the Battle of Basantar on December 16, 1971, Arun Khetarpal, then a Second Lieutenant, was tasked with holding a crucial position against the Pakistani forces. Despite being outnumbered and facing intense enemy fire, Khetarpal displayed exemplary courage. He destroyed several enemy tanks and continued to fight until his tank was hit. Even when his tank was in flames, he refused to abandon it and fought valiantly until he succumbed to his injuries. Arun Khetarpal made the ultimate sacrifice for his country on December 16, 1971, during the Battle of Basantar.

Award and Legacy

Arun Khetarpal was posthumously awarded the Param Vir Chakra (PVC), India’s highest military decoration for valor, for his extraordinary bravery during the Battle of Basantar in the 1971 Indo-Pak War. The Param Vir Chakra is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry in the presence of the enemy, and it is a recognition of the highest order for military personnel in India.

Arun Khetarpal’s unwavering courage and determination in the face of overwhelming odds serve as a source of inspiration for the Indian Armed Forces. His story is often shared to motivate and instill a sense of duty and bravery in the men and women serving in the military.

Khetarpal’s life and sacrifice have made him a symbol of patriotism and selflessness. His commitment to the defense of the nation, even at the cost of his own life, reinforces the ideals of dedication and love for the country.

Various memorials, institutions, and facilities have been named in honor of Arun Khetarpal. These serve as reminders of his bravery and the sacrifices made by the armed forces. These memorials also provide a space for people to pay homage and reflect on the valor displayed by Khetarpal.

In commemoration of Arun Khetarpal’s legacy, educational scholarships and awards have been instituted in his name. These initiatives aim to support the education of deserving individuals and promote the values of courage and commitment that Khetarpal embodied.

Annually, on significant dates like the anniversary of the Battle of Basantar and on Param Vir Chakra Day, remembrance ceremonies are held to honor Arun Khetarpal and other PVC awardees. These ceremonies bring together military personnel, dignitaries, and civilians to pay tribute to their sacrifices.