NEW DELHI—China Tuesday said reports of an attack on Indian government computers by Chinese hackers "are entirely without basis."
Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said at a routine press briefing in Beijing that China is one of the biggest victims of hacker attacks.
Hacker attacks on China from outside the country rose 148% in 2008, he said.
India suspects that Chinese hackers attempted to gain access to Indian government information at the same time as they have been accused of targeting U.S. companies including Google Inc., according to a report Monday.
The Times of London quoted India's national security adviser, M.K. Narayanan, as saying of the attempted cyberattacks on his and other government offices: "People seem to be fairly sure it was the Chinese. It is difficult to find the exact source but this is the main suspicion. It seems well-founded."
A person who answered the phone at Mr. Narayanan's house and an official who answered at his office said Mr. Narayanan was unavailable to comment. A spokesman for the Indian prime minister's office said he had no immediate comment. A spokesman for the Chinese embassy in New Delhi said he wasn't aware of the statements but added, "Let me tell you, we are a legal country and hacking is against the law in China."
Mr. Narayanan was quoted in the interview saying "this was not the first instance of an attempt to hack into our computers." He said the recent hacking attempt, made through a virus sent by email in mid-December, was detected and eliminated.
Google said last week it may leave China after an investigation found the company had in mid-December been hit with major cyber attacks it believes originated from the country there. The attack targeted as many as 34 different companies or other entities, according to two people familiar with the investigation. Investigators are probing whether the attack is linked to the Chinese government or intelligence services, a person familiar with the investigation said.
Mr. Narayanan's remarks are likely to stoke tensions further between India and China, neighbors and rivals who are experiencing a tense phase in their complex relationship.
The two countries are major trading partners—China is India's largest export market—but they have been sparring of late over disputed border areas and the Indian government's hosting of the Tibetan government in exile