Preliminary investigations in the Scorpene data leak case have found that the leak did not take place in India but at the office of defence company DCNS in France, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba said on Saturday afternoon. Lanba was speaking to the media after the launch of the warship Mormugao, a guided-missile destroyer.
“There is a high-level committee which is inquiring into the Scorpene leak on our side. Similarly in France, DCNS and the French government have launched an inquiry. Based on this inquiry, we will see what needs to be done and whether any mitigation measures are required or not,” Lanba said.
“In preliminary investigation, it has been found that the leak did not happen in India, but in the DCNS office in France,” Lanba said. Over 22,000 pages of secret data on the capabilities of six highly advanced Scorpene submarines, being built for the Indian Navy in Mumbai in collaboration with DCNS, were leaked recently, raising alarm bells in the security establishment.
The combat capability of the Scorpene submarines, being built at Mazagon Dock in Mumbai at a cost of $3.5 billion, became public when The Australian newspaper put the details on its website. Some of the leaked documents relate to information about operating instructions of underwater warfare system of the submarines, which are used to gather intelligence.
Meanwhile, the Mormugao warship, perceived to be a big boost for ‘Make in India’ in the defence sector, was launched at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) on Saturday. Lanba said the ship has been named after the picturesque Mormugao port of Goa.
Admiral Lanba’s wife Reena launched the bedecked ship at a function at MDL at 11.58 am after which it was released into the Arabian Sea for the first time. The vessel will undergo certain tests required by the Indian Navy and would be subsequently known as INS Mormugao.
In 2011, the government had sanctioned four 15B ships at the cost of Rs 29,700 crore. The first ship of the project, guided-missile destroyer Visakhapatnam, was launched on April 20 last year. Mormugao is the second warship in the 15B project. Four more such destroyers will be built and delivered by MDL between 2020 and 2024, the PSU said in a statement.
Mormugao has a displacement of 7,300 tonne with maximum speed of over 30 knots. The warship is equipped with surface-to-surface missiles, surface-to-air missiles and anti-submarine rocket launchers. It is also capable of carrying two anti-submarine warfare helicopters. According to Lanba, the indigenous content of the Mormugao is 68 per cent. “The major weapon sensor is now also on a joint development between DRDO and IAI of Israel,” the Navy chief said.
“Any warship in the world…to be built and commissioned takes between 10-12 years. So is the case in India. As far as the build period goes, they have been gradually decreasing in our shipyards,” Lanba said, adding that Mormugao finished ahead of schedule.