Staff were able to rescue only seven of the 17 children in the Sick Newborn Care Unit of the Bhandara District General Hospital in western Maharashtra state.
At least ten babies have been killed in a maternity unit in the Indian state of Maharashtra when fire tore through a major hospital.
Staff rescued seven of the newborn infants at the Bhandara district hospital but were beaten back before they could get to the 10 others, Pramod Khandate, a senior doctor, told AFP.
All of those who died were aged between a few days and three months, according to reports.
"The cause of the fire is not known yet but our staff extinguished the fire as soon as they could. The smoke led to the babies suffocating," Khandate said.
Nurses on duty noticed a fire coming from the hospital's neonatal unit and raised the alarm.
Police officer V.S. Chavan later said that a preliminary investigation suggested that the fire was caused by an electrical short-circuit.
The fire brigade stopped the blaze from spreading to other parts of the hospital and other patients were moved to safety.
"Heart-wrenching tragedy in Bhandara, Maharashtra, where we have lost precious young lives," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Twitter. Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi called the deaths "extremely tragic".
Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thakre ordered a probe into the incident that has raised doubts about safety in Indian hospitals. More than 90 people died in an inferno in a Kolkata hospital in 2011.
A fire at a hospital in Ahmedabad in August killed eight coronavirus patients. Another five Covid-19 patients died in a blaze in a clinic in Rajkot in November.
The Supreme Court called for a report on safety in coronavirus hospitals because of the incidents.