Govt downplays Scorpene data leak; nothing serious in nature, says Indian Navy
Barely a day after the massive leak of data related to India’s Scorpene submarines created a massive stir, the Indian Navy has said that the data in the leaked report is hypothetical and do not pose any security compromise.
"The documents have been examined and do not pose any security compromise as the vital parameters have been blacked out. The Indian Navy has taken up the matter with director general of armament of the French government and has requested the French government to investigate this incident and share their findings. An internal audit of procedures to rule out any security compromise is also being undertaken," said a Navy statement.
The Navy has also made it clear that the leak did not take place in India, contradicting Scorpene submarine-maker French firm DCNS’s claim that the leak might be at the Indian end.
Navy today informed that an internal audit of procedures to rule out any security compromise is being undertaken.
“The matter is being taken up with concerned foreign government through diplomatic channels to verify the authenticity of the reports,” ANI quoted Indian Navy as saying.
The Indian government is also examining impact if information contained in documents claimed to be available with Australian sources is compromise, it said.
“Detailed assessment of potential impact being undertaken by high level committee constituted by Defence Ministry. The Indian Navy is taking all necessary steps to mitigate any probable security compromise,” it said.
Top Defence Ministry sources said that much of the leaked data are "old, dated and irrelevant."
Yesterday, the Nay had said that details in the leaked documents regarding the Scorpene submarine are not valid because the signature can be known only once the boat goes out to the seas.
“How can we know the signature of the boat which is still not done with the trials. The technical and operational details will be written by how we exploit the submarine. So far, even the weapon systems and torpedo are not there,” the Navy has said.
“The available information is being examined at the Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy), and an analysis is being done by the specialists concerned. It appears that the leak's source is overseas and not in India,” it added.
The Navy, nonetheless, held the leak is an issue of concern.
"The documents should not have been leaked, but there is nothing to be alarmed about," the Navy said.
The data, which comprises over 22,000 pages, was leaked, the Australian media reported yesterday. It contained documents on the Scorpene submarines, designed by French company DCNS and being built in India by the Mazagaon Dock Limited in Mumbai (Maharashtra) at a cost of around $3.5 billion (Rs 23,486 crore).
From the very early phase, the Scorpene project has been in the eye of controversies. From delay to allegations of kickbacks, the project has now been hit by an ‘unusual data leak’.
The leak comes barely a few months before the commissioning of the submarine.
A complaint was also filed at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), though there was no official statement from the PMO on the issue.
DCNS this year signed a contract with Australia for the manufacture of 12 submarines.
The first of the Scorpene-class submarines being built in India, Kalvari, went for sea trials in May and is expected to be inducted in the Indian Navy by this year-end.
Officials said the other six submarines, in different stages of construction, will be inducted subsequently at intervals of nine months each.
The variants of the Scorpene submarine are used by Malaysia and Chile, and Brazil is soon to join the club.
On the other hand, in a statement, DCNS has blamed the leak on corporate espionage.
The company said that it will determine if any harm had been caused to clients.
“We have been made aware of articles published in the Australian press related to the leakage of sensitive data about Indian Scorpene. This serious matter is thoroughly being investigated by the proper French national authorities for Defense Security. This investigation will determine the exact nature of the leaked documents, the potential damages to DCNS customers as well as the responsibilities for this leakage,” said a statement released by DCNS.