ON THE day The Australian newspaper uploaded on its website the second tranche of leaked documents related to six Scorpene-class submarines being made by French company DCNS in India, the Indian Navy ordered an internal audit of procedures to rule out any security compromise at its end.
Following orders from Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, the Navy said in a statement that it had “expressed concern” and requested the French government “to investigate this incident with urgency and share their findings with the Indian side”. It has taken up the matter with France’s Directorate General of Armament.
Defence Ministry sources said the Navy had concluded that the documents were leaked from overseas following an initial analysis conducted at its headquarters in Delhi with help from officials at Mazagon Docks Ltd in Mumbai, where the submarines are being built.
The Navy said the uploaded documents “do not pose any security compromise as the vital parameters have been blacked out”. The Australian newspaper, however, said it had redacted vital parameters, considering the sensitivity of data involved. Cameron Stewart, Associate Editor of The Australian, confirmed that “all sensitive figures are there in full” in the original leaked data.
The latest set of uploaded documents, with Indian Navy insignia on it and marked “Restricted Scorpene India”, gives details about the sonar system of the submarines that is used to gather intelligence underwater, according to a PTI report. It talks about a wide range of technical specifications of the sonars and at what degree and frequency it will function.
The Defence Ministry, meanwhile, said it has contacted “concerned foreign governments through diplomatic channels to verify the authenticity of the reports”. In a statement, it said that “as a matter of abundant precaution, (it) is also examining the impact if the information contained in the documents claimed to be available with the Australian sources is compromised”.
“The detailed assessment of potential impact is being undertaken by a high-level committee constituted by the Ministry of Defence and the Indian Navy is taking all necessary steps to mitigate any probable security compromise,” it said.
India is currently building six Scorpene-class submarines, under Project 75, in partnership with DCNS under a $3.5-billion deal signed in 2005 — the first, INS Kalvari, is likely to be inducted later this year.