Ten soldiers were feared dead in two avalanches which hit army posts and patrols on the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir's Bandipora district as the region witnessed heavy snowfall.
"The toll in two avalanches that hit Gurez Sector of Kashmir rises to 10," the Army reported. Earlier in a statement, it said that "six soldiers were killed in two separate avalanche tragedies in Gurez sector of the LoC (on Wednesday)."
On hearing the news, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to Twitter to express grief and said that the authorities have been directed to carry out search and rescue operations.
"Deeply saddened at the death of our Veer jawans (brave soldiers) in an avalanche in Kashmir. Have directed the authorities for speedy search and rescue operations," Modi wrote.
Rescue operations were underway, and bodies of three soldiers have been unearthed, sources said.
"Rescue operations were immediately launched in extreme bad weather amid heavy snow fall," the Army said.
A Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and six soldiers were rescued after avalanches hit their camp.
In another incident, an army patrol moving towards a post went missing after an avalanche hit the same area on Wednesday. An Army officer was killed and four soldiers were injured on Wednesday in a separate avalanche in Sonamarg in Ganderbal district.
Meanwhile in the valley, there were reports of eight deaths as heavy snowfall cut off the region from the rest of the country for the third consecutive day. The snowfall and landslides at many places closed the Srinagar-Jammu highway, and all surface and air links were snapped.
"The highway has been closed for the safety of passengers and drivers. Nobody should undertake the journey unless we declare it open," a senior traffic department officer said.
All flights have been suspended from Srinagar to the rest of the country since Tuesday.
(With inputs from agencies)