Two army soldiers were killed in an encounter with militants in the Nowshera area of Rajouri district in Jammu & Kashmir, an official said on Wednesday.

Naik Sawant Sandip Raghunath, aged 29, belonged to Village Munde, Tehsil Karhad, District Satara, Maharashtra and is survived by his wife, Smita Sawant, the Indian Army said.

Rifleman Arjun Thapa Magar, aged 25, belonged to Village Rip, District Gorkha, Nepal and is survived by his parents.

“Naik Sawant Sandip Raghunath and Rifleman Arjun Thapa Magar were brave, highly motivated and sincere soldiers. The nation will always remain indebted to them for the supreme sacrifice and devotion,” the Army said.

The security forces had an input about the presence of militants in Nowshera on Tuesday and a cordon and search operation was immediately launched.

There was an exchange of fire late on Tuesday night and on Wednesday morning the bodies of the two soldiers were found.

More reinforcements have been brought into the area which has been cordoned off and the operation is still underway.

Nowshera is close to the Line of Control (LoC) and has remained a hotbed of militancy in the past.

On Tuesday, J&K Director General of Police Dilbag Singh said there are 250 militants active in the state, of which 100 are foreigners and the rest are locals.

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