Suspected tribal guerrillas killed 20 soldiers and wounded 11 others, firing rocket-propelled grenades and detonating improvised explosive devices, on Thursday morning in the Moltuk valley of the Chandel district in the Indian state of Manipur, an army spokesman said.
The ambush occurred at 8:00 am local time while troops from 6 Dogra Regiment were patrolling Imphal district, a local police official said , according to the Hindu.
"We do not know as yet who is responsible," said a spokesman at army headquarters in New Delhi, adding that investigations are ongoing.
According to a security analyst, the attack might be in retaliation for the alleged killing of a woman by Indian soldiers on Monday.
"Today's mindless attack in Manipur is very distressing. I bow to each and every soldier who has sacrificed his life for the Nation," said Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his Twitter post on late Thursday.
Manipur Home Secretary J.Suresh Babu said to The Hindu that the People's Liberation Army (PLA) rebel group might be responsible for the attack.
“This seems to be the work of PLA, with suspected support by the Kanglei Yawol Kanna Lup-a ,Manipur revolutionary organization in Manipur-group also. We are still waiting for more inputs to come in,” Babu added.
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar also condemned the Thursday’s ambush as being the worst attack in recent years, calling it a “cowardly act.”
Indian authorities say that more than 50,000 people have been killed in the insurgency in North-eastern states of India since the country’s independence in 1947, according to AP.