France on Wednesday said it has taken “very seriously” the issue of leak of sensitive documents on advanced submarines being built for the Indian Navy and would work with India very closely with transparency. As the Scorpene data leak report broke out shaking the Indian defence establishment, French Ambassador Alexandre Ziegler said French authorities were trying to assess the extent, nature and sensitivity of information that may have been leaked.
“Well, I have seen the report in the press. What can I tell you is that the French authorities are taking the matter very very seriously and working very seriously with DCNS, the French ship building company,” he told reporters at an event organised at Alliance Francaise in New Delhi. Six Scorpene submarines are being built in collaboration with French naval contractor DCNS at a cost of USD 3.5 billion. The data leak has prompted India to order probe into the matter.
“We (French authorities) are trying to asses the extent; the nature; the sensitivity of information that may have been leaked, and we will do work in this… in very very close cooperation (and) with full transparency with Indian authorities,” Ziegler said.
Earlier, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said the leak of documents detailing the secret combat capabilities of Scorpene-class submarines was a case of hacking.
Australian media reported a leak of 22,400 pages that enumerate the submarines designed by DCNS for the Indian Navy. Parrikar also has ordered Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lamba to go into the entire issue and sought a report from DCNS.
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The details leaked included what frequencies the submarines gather intelligence at, what levels of noise they
make at various speeds and their diving depths, range and endurance – all sensitive information that is highly classified, the Australian report said.