French naval contractor DCNS on Wednesday said the Scorpene submarine data leak may have been part of an economic warfare strategy against the defence contractor, Reuters reported. The Indian government has initiated a probe into the case where over 22,000 pages of details about the Indian Navy's six submarines designed by DCNS were leaked. The matter came to light when The Australian published documents related to the Indian vessels while highlighting the vulnerability of Australia's defence contract with DCNS.

The leak has the Australian government on edge as it is in its final stages of negotiations with the contractor to build the country's new generation of submarines, known as the Barracuda. DCNS said teh matter will be thoroughly investigated to figure out "the exact nature of leaked docs, potential damages to customers and the responsibilities for the leak." A company spokesperson said the competitive market and corporate espionage could be responsible for the leak.

"Competition is getting tougher and tougher, and all means can be used in this context," the spokesperson said. The contractor is also vying for submarine contracts in Norway and Poland, and it has outshone bids by Germany's ThyssenKrupp AG and Japanese government-backed Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries for a deal in Australia.