New Delhi: China on Tuesday dismissed reports that it had in October caused a major power outage in India’s financial capital Mumbai which brought activities in the economic nerve centre of the country to a halt for many hours.
“The relevant allegations are pure rumors and slanders. Cyber attacks are highly complicated and sensitive, and their origin is difficult to trace. Speculation and fabrication have no role to play on the issue of cyber attacks. It is highly irresponsible to accuse a particular party when there is no evidence. China is firmly opposed to such irresponsible and ill-intentioned practice,” a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in New Delhi said in a statement.
According to a report in the New York Times – that was widely picked up by Indian newspapers on Monday – Chinese hackers targeted the Indian power sector through malware which caused the massive power outage in Mumbai in October 2020.
A separate Reuters report said that a Chinese state-backed hacking group had in recent weeks targeted the IT systems of two Indian vaccine makers whose covid-19 shots are being used in the country’s immunisation campaign.
In its statement, the Chinese embassy in New Delhi said there had been some amount of speculation “about China’s so-called theft of other countries’ vaccines through hacker attacks.”
“China takes the lead in vaccine research and development, we don’t need to and will not rely on “stealing” to obtain vaccines. Both China and India are contributors to international cooperation on vaccines, and both have fallen victim to disinformation. This is not in the common interests of the international community,” it said. This could be a reference to allegations of the former US administration headed by Donald Trump that the Chinese consulate in Houston was trying to obtain information related to covid-19 vaccines through covert means. This was cited as one of the reasons for Washington asking Beijing to close down its Houston consulate last year.
Describing China as a “staunch defender of cyber security” and also “a major victim of hacking and cyber attacks,” the statement said that Beijing “firmly opposes and combats all forms of cyber attacks and crimes. In accordance with law, we’ve been cracking down on such attacks launched inside China or using China’s cyber infrastructure. This position is consistent and clear.”
It added that China was “firmly opposed to politicizing and stigmatizing cyber security issues, which is not conducive to resolving hacking issues and will only weaken mutual trust among countries.”
“China calls on all countries to advance dialogue and cooperation and handle this challenge together on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit,” it added.