Secret data on India’s Scorpene submarine leaked
New Delhi, August 24
In what looks like a major strategic setback to the Indian Navy and New Delhi’s growing aspirations of being a global player, some 22,400 pages of data related to the six Scorpene-class submarines have been leaked compromising super-secret abilities of the underwater vessels.
The Australian, a newspaper based out of Sydney on the South-east coast of that country, has reported about the leak of data and termed it as “stunning leak” saying “it details the entire secret combat capability of the six Scorpene-class submarines.”
The French Government owns two-thirds stake in DCNS, the submarine maker. The company is building six of the diesel-electric submarines in Mumbai at a cost of Rs 23,562 crore (approx 3.46 billion US dollars). The first one named ‘Kalvari’ is set to be inducted into the naval fleet at the end of the year.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has been made aware of the data leak and the matter is being taken seriously, an MoD official said on Wednesday morning.
India will take up the matter with France and with DCNS.
Reacting to the Submarine data leak, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said, “The first step is to identify if it’s related to us. Anyway it’s not that 100 per cent data has been leaked,” adding that it appeared to be a case of “hacking data”.
The Indian Navy, in an official statement, said, “The available information is being examined and an analysis is being carried out by the specialists concerned. It appears that the source of leak is from overseas and not in India.”
Leaked documents were marked “Restricted Scorpene India”, said the newspaper as it claimed to have seen the data. These detail most sensitive combat capabilities of India’s new submarine fleet and would provide an intelligence bonanza if obtained by India’s strategic rivals, such as Pakistan or China, it said.
The data list out the frequencies at which the submarines gather intelligence and the levels of noise the subs make at various speeds, the news report said. They also contain information on the submarine’s diving depths, range, and endurance, besides its magnetic, electromagnetic, and infrared data.
It is not yet clear how, where, and to whom the top-secret information was leaked.
“As a serious matter pertaining to the Indian Scorpene programme, French national authorities for defence security will formally investigate and determine the exact nature of the leaked documents,” a DCNS spokeswoman said in a statement quoted by news agency Reuters.
DCNS is also to make 12 similar vessels for Australia, a US $ 38 billion contract it won beating stiff completion from Japanese and German submarine-makers.