Maoist rebels have killed at least 60 paramilitary soldiers in attacks in the eastern Indian state of Chhattisgarh, a senior police official says.

The assaults mark the most casualties against government forces since they launched an offensive against the rebels last year.

R.K. Vij, the Inspector General of state police said at least 81 troops were part of a patrol party that came under attack in the rebel stronghold of Dantewada last night.

He said 60 bodies had been recovered so far.