New Delhi: There is a mechanism in place to safeguard India’s critical infrastructure, the External Affairs Ministry said Thursday to reports suggesting that state-sponsored Chinese hackers had unsuccessfully targeted the electricity grid in Ladakh.

Spokesperson Arindam Bagchi concurred with Power Minister R.K. Singh’s comments Thursday that the country had a strong defence against any attempts to hack into its system.

Singh said, “Our defence against cyber-attack is strong. These were probing attacks in December, January and February. They did not succeed. But we are aware.”

The minister also said protocols were put in place as far back as 2018 following suspected attacks on the power-supply system.

“Those protocols are working and we are strengthening them every day. So, we are confident our defence is strong,” Singh said on Thursday.

Suspected state-sponsored Chinese hackers targeted the power sector in India in recent months “as part of an apparent cyber-espionage campaign”, threat intelligence firm Recorded Future Inc. said in a report published Wednesday.

According to the report, seven power centres were targeted near the border area disputed by the two countries.

The hackers focused on at least seven “load dispatch” centres in northern India which carried out real-time operations for grid control and electricity dispersal “near the disputed India-China border in Ladakh”.

The report said the US had linked one of the hacking groups to the Chinese government.

China denied the reports Thursday with Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian saying: “As I repeated many times, we firmly oppose and crackdown on all forms of hacking activities. We will never encourage, support or condone such activities.”