Mirpur/Islamabad - Four Pakistan Army soldiers were martyred as a result of unprovoked firing by the Indian military on the Line of Control in Kotli district of Mirpur division in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, said the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Monday.

“Four Pakistan Army soldiers embraced shahadat (martyrdom) along the LoC in Jandrot, Kotli sector. Troops were busy in line communication maintenance when they were fired at and hit by heavy mortar round. Exchange of fire killed three Indian soldiers, besides injuring few others,” said the ISPR.

Three Indian soldiers were also killed and few others injured in a befitting counter-attack by Pakistan Army.

Meanwhile, senior officials at the foreign ministry said that Pakistan will take the issue of Indian aggression to the United Nations in a bid to save regional peace.

The officials told The Nation that Pakistan’s permanent representative to the UN Dr Maleeha Lodhi would lead the campaign against the Indian “belligerence”.

An official said Pakistan would expose India’s strategy to divert the world’s attention from, the Kashmir issue. He said world’s help would be sought to stop India from imposing a war that could be catastrophic for the region.

This week, Indian army chief Gen Bipin Rawat made a controversial statement inviting reaction from Pakistan. Rawat had said the Indian army was ready to call Pakistan’s “nuclear bluff” and violate the border to carry out any operation inside Pakistan.

Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif and military spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor had given a shut-up call to the India soon after Rawat’s statement.

Both asked India not to underestimate Pakistan’s military strength.

After Rawat’s statement, Indian forces killed four army officers along the Kotli sector with mortar fire.

Earlier, Minister for Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan Barjees Tahir said India had committed over 70 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) this month.

Meanwhile, on Monday, a foreign ministry statement said Indian Deputy High Commissioner JP Singh was summoned over the LoC violations.

Director-General South Asia Dr Mohammed Faisal summoned JP Singh and “condemned the unprovoked ceasefire violations by the Indian occupation forces, using heavy mortars, on January 15 in Jandrot sub-sector of Kotli Sector resulting in the death of four Pakistani soldiers, while injuring five others,” said the statement.

Despite calls for restraint, it said, “India continues to indulge in ceasefire violations. In 2018, the Indian forces have carried out more than 100 ceasefire violations along the Line of Control and the Working Boundary in just 15 days. This unprecedented escalation in ceasefire violations by India is continuing from the year 2017, when the Indian forces committed more than 1,900 ceasefire violations.”

The deliberate targeting of civilian populated areas and troops carrying out maintenance activities is indeed deplorable and contrary to human dignity, international human rights and humanitarian laws, the statement said.

“The ceasefire violations by India are a threat to regional peace and security and may lead to a strategic miscalculation,” it added.

The director-general, it said, urged the Indian side to respect the 2003 Ceasefire arrangement, investigate this and other incidents of ceasefire violations, instruct the Indian forces to respect the ceasefire, in letter and spirit, and maintain peace on the LoC and the Working Boundary.

He asked the Indian side to permit UN observers to play their mandated role as per the UN Security Council resolutions, the statement said.

According to AFP, India denied it suffered any casualties on Line of Control, but said its soldiers had killed five “militants” who attempted to cross the LoC in a separate incident in Uri, 100 kilometers northwest of Srinagar.

On Monday also, India’s army chief Bipin Rawat warned the force would react strongly to any aggression from Pakistan. “Pakistan Army has been continuously trying to help terrorists sneak into India along LoC,” he told soldiers in a speech. “We are using our might to teach them a lesson.”

Islamabad denies allegations that it arms and trains militants to launch attacks on Indian forces, saying it only provides diplomatic support to the Kashmiri struggle for right to self-determination.