The cross-border firing by Pakistan army that killed a major and three soldiers at Keri in J&K's Rajouri sector on Saturday came towards the end of a year that saw over 780 ceasefire violations by Pakistan along the 778km Line of Control and 120 along the 198km global border.
A defence spokesperson blamed unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistani troops for the deaths of Major Moharkar Prafulla Ambadas (32), Lance Naik Gurmail Singh (34) and Sepoy Pargat Singh (30).
The soldiers belonged to 2 Sikh Regment under 120 Infantry Brigade Battalion.
While maintaining that the Army will continue its efforts to ensure peace and tranquillity on the borders, Lt Gen Bhatt said it will "continue to take all retaliatory measures and retain the right to punitively respond to any provocative acts of aggression from the Pakistani side".
A statement issued by the Indian Army said Indian forces retaliated heavily to the cross-border firing.
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However, among the injured, four soldiers including the major succumbed later, the spokesman said, adding the soldiers manning the fence retaliated the fire strongly and effectively. In a strongly worded press statement, the Indian Army warned Pakistan saying martyrdom of Indian soldiers will not go in vain.
India and Pakistan have a long history of bitter relations over the Himalayan territory of Kashmir, which is claimed by both in its entirety.
In recent years, Kashmiris have openly supported anti-India rebels and sought to protect them by engaging troops in street clashes during military operations against the rebels.
The Chief Minister has conveyed her heartfelt sympathies to their families.
Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh paid homage to martyrs and condemned Pakistan for ceasefire violations. The latest violation of the ceasefire agreement took place at a time Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was camping in Rajouri district headquarters to address people's grievances, they said.