The gunfight erupted in the early hours of the morning in a thickly forested area of Chhattisgarh’s Bastar region, about 295 kilometres (184 miles) south of the state capital Raipur.
“In a fierce gun battle in Farkeguda forest 17 Maoists were killed today,” district police superintendent Prashant Agrawal told AFP by phone.
Six Maoists and six members of the security forces were wounded, he added.
Security forces are combing the area in search of more Maoist fighters, after the rebels ambushed a police patrol and shot dead six officers and a civilian in the state last month.
The Maoists have been fighting a deadly low-intensity war against authorities for decades for what they say are the rights of tribal people and landless farmers.
The government describes the guerrillas as India’s most serious internal security threat.
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