Guwahati: Three soldiers were killed while four were critically injured on Saturday in an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in Assam's Digboi area.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal in the wake of the incident. Singh said that the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) was closely monitoring the situation.
Heavily-armed militants of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) ambushed an Army convoy at around 5:30 am near the Pengeri reserve forest in the eastern Assam district of Tinsukia, about 550 km (340 miles) from Guwahati.
"Militants belonging to the ULFA militants attacked the Army convoy with rocket-propelled grenades, hitting a truck and a jeep. Three soldiers were killed and four critically injured in the attack," Mukesh Agarwalla, Assam’s additional police chief, told news agency Reuters.
The injured were airlifted to a nearby Army base hospital with multiple wounds, according to the officials.
"The area is thickly forested and that gave the militants an edge to attack and escape immediately after the strike," an Army commander said, requesting not to be identified.
Army, police, and paramilitary troopers have since launched a massive hunt for the rebels and to seal escape routes, an Army official said.
Sources told news agency ANI that the search operation is still on.
Earlier, Director General of Assam Police Mukesh Sahay told ANI that the Army cordoned off the jungle in Pengeri and launched an encounter.
On Wednesday, militants had attacked a van of the Pengeri tea estate, killing one person and injuring two others.
In 2011, the ULFA announced it would join peace talks with the Indian government in a move to end a 33-year-old rebellion.
A faction of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) militant group also agreed to a ceasefire with New Delhi.
Since then, elements of both groups which oppose the peace overtures have carried out bomb and grenade attacks in the state, according to police officials.