At least 10 Indian soldiers are missing following an avalanche that struck remote Himalayas. The avalanche occurred near the de facto border with Pakistan on 3 February, an army spokesman said.

"In the early hours of today (Wednesday), 10 soldiers were hit by an avalanche at the northern Siachen Glacier while on patrol," Colonel S D Goswami told AFP. He said a massive rescue operation has been launched by the army and the air force to trace the missing personnel who are feared buried under the avalanche.

Tribune News Service quoted defence officials as saying that the missing soldiers belong to the Madras Regiment. A stone bunker used by the regiment's soldiers has also got buried under the snow, the report said.

At about 19,000ft, the Siachen Glacier is the world's highest battlefield as it lies in the disputed region in Kashmir. It is located in the eastern Karakoram Range in the Himalayas in the northern Kashmir region and forms a terminus between India, Pakistan and China.

Avalanches and landslides are common in the glacial area during winter when temperatures can drop to minus 60C. An estimated 8,000 troops have died on the glacier since India and Pakistan deployed their soldiers there in 1984, according to the Hindustan Times. In January, four soldiers were killed in another avalanche in the region.