The Indian Army said that it killed seven Pakistani soldiers and injured four on Monday in retaliatory strikes in forward areas along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch district, PTI reported.

“The Army has carried out retaliation against Pakistani troops across Jaglote area along the LoC in Mendhar sector of Poonch district,” PTI quoted an unidentified Army officer as saying.

The Pakistani Army, however, pegged the toll at four and said that its troops had killed three Indian soldiers. “Four Pakistan Army soldiers embraced shahadat [martyrdom] along the Line of Control in Jandrot, Kotli sector,” the Pakistan Inter-Services Public Relations department said. “Troops were busy in line communication maintenance when they were fired upon and hit by heavy mortar round.”

The India Army, on the other hand, claimed that Pakistani troops suddenly began firing mortar shells on forward Indian positions along the Line of Control in Poonch’s Dehri Dabsi area around 10.15 am, The Indian Express reported. The Army fired back and the exchange of fire lasted for nearly an hour, the daily quoted unidentified officials as saying.

Earlier in the day, the Chief of the Army Staff General Bipin Rawat said at an Army Day function that Pakistan had been continuously attempting to help terrorists infiltrate across the Line of Control. “We will keep effectively retaliating to any provocative action by Pakistan,” Rawat said. “If we are forced, then we may resort to ‘other action’ by stepping up [the] military offensive.”

‘Sentinels of our liberty’

Meanwhile, President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday greeted the officers and troops of the Army on the occasion of Army Day, which is celebrated on January 15 every year to mark Field Marshal KM Cariappa taking over as the Army’s first commander-in-chief.

Kovind called soldiers the “nation’s pride, the sentinels of our liberty”. Citizens, he added, slept securely knowing that soldiers are awake and vigilant.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi greeted the soldiers, veterans and their families. “Every citizen of India has unwavering trust and pride in our Army, which protects the nation and is also at the forefront of humanitarian efforts during times of natural disasters and other accidents,” he said.