Documents containing classified information about the secret combat capabilities of Scorpene submarines designed by French defence contractor DCNS for the Indian Navy have been leaked, reported The Australian. After the leak of around 22,000 pages of top secret data, the security of countries including Malaysia and Chile – who use a variant of the Scorpene – are also at risk. Brazil too will deploy the vessels from 2018.
The file, marked ‘Restricted Scorpene India’, reportedly has detailed information about the Indian submarines including their sensors and navigation systems. According to the report, DCNS said the leak was from India’s end and not a fault of France. The company said, “In the case of India, where a DCNS design is built by a local company, DCNS is the provider and not the controller of technical data.”
A DCNS spokesperson told AFP that French national authorities will investigate and determine the exact nature of the leaked documents. “This inquiry will determine the precise nature of the leaked documents, the potential damage to our customers as well as those responsible.”
Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said it was a case of hacking, and that the navy chief has been asked to analyse the leaked data, reported ANI. India has ordered six Scorpene submarines worth $3 billion (Rs 20,000 crore approximately). The first batch had begun undergoing trials in May, and the first of the submarines, Kalvari, was expected to be inducted in the navy in November.
The Congress has demanded an explanation from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party regarding the reported leak. Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said, “The government owes a very proper explanation and a strict punishment in the swiftest possible time. This should not go through a bureaucratic legalese with people trying to save their skin and passing the buck.”The leak has also sparked concerns in Australia as the French company won a bid to design a new submarine fleet for the country in April. DCNS, which won the bid over Germany and Japan, will design 12 new submarines for Australia.