On 26th April, 1965, Flying Officer Barbara undertook a photo-reconnaissance sortie in the Biar Bet area in which the Pakistani Army had mounted an attack against one of xx Company positions. His task was to collect evidence of the presence of Pakitani armour in this area and use of foreign tanks by Pakistani forces. Such evidence was of vital importance since Pakistan had denied use of foreign tanks in the battle. The battle area was being constantly patrolled by the Pakistani forces with fighter aircraft whos performance was much superior to that of the aircraft flown by flying Officer Barbara. In addition to the danger of being intercepted by the enemy aircraft there was the danger of being caught in the cross0f9ire of the Artillery duel between the Pakistani forces and our troops. Fully aware of these risks, Flying Officer Barbara decided to fly as low as 50 feet above ground level below the trajectory of the shells. With consummate skill, he navigated t o an area which is noted for the absence of prominent land marks and having spotted 15 tanks which he recognized as M-48 Ă˘â‚¬Ĺ“PattonĂ˘â‚¬Âť, he took photographs of the tanks as well a s of their tracks. The photographs taken by him confirmed that Pakistan had used foreign tanks in Indian territory.
In this operation, Flying Officer Utpal Barbara displayed courage, determination and professional skill of a high order in the best traditions of the Indian Air Force.