A fierce tank battle followed. As many as ten enemy tanks were destroyed. In the thick of the battle, two of the three Indian tanks became casualties - one was hit (Lt. Ahlawat, he survived and later became ADC to the President) and another suffered mechanical failure (Capt. Malhotra). The third tank, which was 2nd Lt. Khetarpal's tank, also received a shot and burst into flames wounding him severely. Capt. Malhotra ordered 2nd Lt. Khetarpal to abandon the burning tank. But he realised that he was the only one left and that the enemy though badly decimated would manage to break through.
What followed is a story of extreme valour and courage unparalled in the history of warfare. He communicated the following message to his Commander, "No Sir, I will not abandon my tank. My gun is still working and I will get these bastards." His tank driver Sowar Prayag Singh (he survived) asked him to at least extinguish the fire but 2nd Lt. Khetarpal did not heed and switched off his radio. Then he set about destroying the remaining five enemy tanks all alone from his burning tank.
At one point it looked that the shear numbers of the enemy tank will overwhelm him. But this Brave Lion, one by one, destroyed 4 enemy tanks. The fifth and the last enemy tank was barely 100 metres from his position when 2nd Lt. Khetarpal took a shot halting it immdiately. At this stage his tank received an another hit. He was already badly wounded and this time it was fatal. The brave officer met his death denying the enemy the intended breakthrough.
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. Not one enemy tank got through.