Militants in the Indian-administered Kashmir have reportedly attacked an army headquarters in the region’s north, near the de facto border with Pakistan, killing at least 17 troops.
Indian army sources said on Sunday that around four to six militants staged an attack on the army base in the town of Uri near the Line of Control with Pakistan.
The sources added that a gunfight that started with the militants several hours ago is still ongoing and the death toll may rise.
Four militants have already been killed and army helicopters have been deployed to the site to evacuate over a dozen soldiers injured in the predawn attack, according to the sources.
Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on social media that political and military authorities in the region, as well as other senior officials, were monitoring the developments.
Singh tweeted that the urgent situation had forced him to cancel his planned trip to Russia and the United States.
Meanwhile, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi reacted to the incident by ensuring that the perpetrators of the “cowardly terror attack” would be punished.
“I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished,” Modi said in a series of tweets.
The restive Muslim-majority region has witnessed an increase in mass protests and violent attacks since early July, when Burhan Wani, a top figure in a pro-independence group, was killed in a shootout with Indian troops.
Tens of thousands of government troops have been deployed to the region and nearly 80 people have lost their lives in the ensuing crackdown.
The government crackdown has failed to halt the protests against Indian rule in Kashmir.
Kashmir has been at the heart of a bitter territorial dispute between India and Pakistan, ever since the region gained independence from British rule in 1947.