Jammu/Srinagar: Seven Pakistani soldiers were killed on Monday in retaliatory firing by the Indian Army after a ceasefire violation in Jammu and Kashmir where a infiltration bid was also foiled with the elimination of five militants of Pakistan-based JeM, army officers said.
The army action came on a day when its chief Gen Bipin Rawat sent a stern messsage to Pakistan, saying it may escalate its offensive against terror groups and carry out the 'other action' if forced by the neighbouring country.
In his address to army personnel in Delhi to mark the Army Day today, the Army chief said Pakistan Army is continuously trying to help terrorists sneak into India along the Line of Control (LoC) in J and K.
"Pakistani troops violated the ceasefire along the LoC and resorted to shelling on forward posts in Jaglote belt in Mendhar sector(in Poonch district) early today," a senior Army officer told PTI in Jammu.
Indian troops guarding the LoC took positions and targeted the Pakistani post involved in the ceasefire violation in Kotli by retaliatory action of heavy shelling, he said.
In the retaliation, seven Pakistani soldiers were killed and four other soldiers injured, the officer said, adding the dead included a Major.
The retaliation also comes after an Indian soldier was killed in Pakistan firing along the LoC in J and K's Rajouri district last Saturday.
The Pakistan Army, however, said it lost four of its soldiers in a cross-border firing by India across the LoC and claimed to have killed three Indian troops.
The army personnel were fired upon and hit by heavy mortar rounds while carrying out "line communication maintenance" along the LoC in Kotli sector's Jandrot area, the army's media wing Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement in Islamabad.
Four Pakistani soldiers were killed in the exchange of fire, it said.
Three Indian soldiers were also killed, the statement claimed.
The cross-LoC travel between J and K and Pakistan- Occupied-Kashmir (PoK) has been suspended due to tension at the LoC, custodian of LoC Trade and Travel, Mohammad Tanveer told PTI.
The Indian Army also foiled a major infiltration attempt by Jaish-e-Mohammad(JeM) militants along the LoC in Uri sector in Kashmir, killing five members of the group's suicide squad, a senior army officer said in Srinagar.
The Army foiled the infiltration bid - the first such attempt this year - by the Pakistan-based outfit in an overnight operation that ended this morning, Brigadier Y S Ahlawat told reporters in Uri, 100 km from Srinagar.
Brig. Ahlawat said the infiltration attempt was made along the river Jhelum, which flows into Pakistan from India.
"A major infiltration bid - the first of 2018 - by a fierce 'fidayeen' group has been foiled along the LoC in Uri sector. A major tragedy has been averted on Army Day and in the run up to the Republic Day celebrations," he said.
The army officer said alert troops picked up the movement "as the terrorists were moving along the banks of Jhelum and subsequently tracked their movement."
"In the ensuing firefight, the Army neutralised five terrorists in the operation," Brig. Ahlawat said, adding that four bodies have been recovered and the fifth was lying near the boat the militants had used to cross the river.
A cache of arms - including four AK-47 rifles, three Underbarrel Grenade Launchers, 38 UBGL grenades, 23 hand grenades, nine IEDs and "other war-like items", have been recovered from the dead militants, he added.
In September 2016, heavily-armed militants of the JeM had carried out one of the deadliest attacks on the Indian Army and stormed their base in Uri, killing 18 Indian soldiers.
Ten days later on September 28 that year, the Indian Army responded with "surgical strikes" on terror launch pads across the LoC, inflicting "significant casualties" on terrorists preparing to infiltrate from PoK.
Today, Brigadier Ahlawat said: "The Indian army continues with its resolve to keep a strict vigil along the LoC and foil such nefarious designs of Pakistan in future too."
Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police S P Vaid earlier today said the militants belonged to the JeM group.
"Three suicidal JeM terrorists killed in Dulanja Uri while infiltrating in a joint operation by @JmuKmrPolice/Army/ CAPF. Search for the fourth terrorist is still on," Vaid had said in a tweet when the operation against the militants was still in progress.
The toll was later updated by a defence spokesperson.