On Friday, China denied Indian reports that its military had crossed into India, accusing  Indian troops instead of intruding into Chinese territory.

“After investigation, the reality is that Indians crossed the eastern part of the Sino-Indian Line of Actual Control,” a Chinese foreign ministry statement said.

A day earlier, India’s foreign ministry had charged a Chinese patrol with having trespassed into Indian territory and demanded an explanation.

Indian media reports said a 21-member Chinese patrol stopped a team of Indian intelligence officers about 14 km inside the Indian side of the border.

The Indian sleuths were also reportedly detained, questioned and then freed.

The Chinese foreign ministry however put the blame on the Indians.

“We hope the Indian side will strictly abide by the regulations of the agreements signed by the two countries, respect the Line of Actual Control between the two sides and avoid similar incidents happening again,” it said.

Indian Prime Minister A B Vajpayee paid a high-profile visit to China a few weeks ago, signaling that ties between the two countries were improving.

Having gone to war once in 1962, both nations claim vast swathes of each other’s territory.

India accuses China of occupying 38,000 square km of its land in the remote Aksai China area.

China on its part claims right over 90,000 square km of Indian territory in the eastern sector.