At least seven Kashmir militants were confirmed dead, just days after a major suicide bomb attack escalated tensions with neighbouring Pakistan.
The confrontation piled more pressure on the Indian government, which has blamed Pakistan for last Thursday’s suicide attack on a convoy that killed at least 41 paramilitaries.
Hours of shooting rocked the Pulwama district, south of Kashmir’s main city of Srinagar, after officials reported that four soldiers, two militants and a civilian were killed in the latest clash.
An army major was among the dead, along with two militants from the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) group which claimed last week’s attack, military and police officials said.
A military spokeman in Kashmir, Colonel Rakesh Kalia, “The encounter is still on.”
Hundreds of soldiers raided villages and fired warning shots at a suspected militant hideout, unleashing the firefight in the village of Pinglan.
Some militants were believed to have escaped, police said, and government forces cordoned off other villages as they gave chase.
Government forces have launched a massive hunt since an explosives-packed van struck the convoy transporting 2,500 security men close to Pinglan on Thursday.
A video on social media purportedly shows a pre-recorded message by the 20-year-old Kashmiri suicide bomber warning of more attacks.
Pakistan has denied any role in the attack.
As Islamabad recalled its envoy to New Delhi for “consultations”, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday called for greater international action against “terrorism”.
“The cruel terrorist attack in Pulwana shows that time for talks is over,” Modi told reporters after meeting with Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri in New Delhi.