Positioned on the western front during the war of 1971,the 8 Sikh Light Infantry, commanded by Lt. Col. Harish Pathak was assigned the task of capturing Fatehpur and surrounding Pakistani positions, all of which were heavily defended.
The Indian attack commenced on 11th December. Initially, the Indians were kept pinned down by heavy artillery fire and suffered heavy casualties. Then the colonel roused the to action and led a fierce charge into the enemy camp for a hand-to-hand battle. The Pakistanis were routed but they regrouped and launched a counter-attack. The fighting raged on for hours and many men died on both sides but the Indians hung on grimly to their positions and eventually emerged victorious.
Lt. Col. Pathak was honored with the Mahavir Chakra for his outstanding leadership.