: 18 Pres/72,12-2-72Operation
: 1971 Cactus LilyDate of Award
: 21 Dec 1971
Lieutenant Commander Santosh Kumar Gupta, Commanding Officer of a Navy air squadron, operating from the aircraft carrier INS ‘VIKRANT’, led a total of eleven very successful strike missions with devastating effects on enemy ships and heavily defended shore facilities in various sectors of Bangladesh. On 9 December 1971, Lieutenant Commander Gupta pressed home a strike of Seahawk aircraft against enemy targets in Khulna in face of a fierce barrage of anti- aircraft gunfire.
His aircraft was hit and damaged by enemy fire. However, regardless of his personal safety and in the face of extreme danger, Lieutenant Commander Gupta continued to lead the attack with indomitable determination and skill and then led his divisions on board back to safety. Lieutenant Commander Gupta showed great courage and professional ability in landing his damaged aircraft safely on board the carrier.
Throughout the operations, Lieutenant Commander Gupta displayed conspicuous gallantry and outstanding leadership.
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