Squadron Leader Ajay Ahuja (17864-A) Flying (Pilot) was the Flight Commander of a MiGÃ¢â‚¬â€œ21 Squadron inducted Srinagar for the Kargil Operations. On 27th May 1999, he was planned to lead a two aircraft mission for Photo reconnaissance of enemy positions in the Batalik Sector. As he was getting airborne he was informed that Flight Lieutenant Nachiketa had ejected in the vicinity of Muntho Dhalo. Squadron Leader Ahuja immediately realized the necessity of locating and recovering the downed pilot. He changed his mission profile and set course towards Muntho Dhalo. Despite being told that surface to air missiles were being fired in the area, Squadron Leader Ahuja carried out orbits to try and pinpoint the location of the crashed aircraft and pilot. He sent his No. 2 back to base but himself continued the search, ignoring the threat to his own life.
By sheer perseverance, he was able to locate the crash site and transmitted this information to the rescue helicopters. Unfortunately, at this stage, his own aircraft was hit by a surface to air missile. With exemplary presence of mind and cool professionalism, he attempted to nurse the aircraft towards a safer area. But when the aircraft engine flamed out Squadron Leader Ahuja had no choice but to eject. He ejected safely and had the presence of mind to transmit his last recorded ground position.
On 28th May 1999 the body of Squadron Leader Ahuja was handed over to Indian authorities. The body bore two bullet injuries.
Squadron Leader Ahuja displayed exceptional courage in going beyond the call of duty while searching for a downed brother officer.