Hours after The Australian reported that sensitive data on India’s Scorpene submarines has been leaked, the French manufcaturing company DCNS issued a statement saying it will formally investigate and determine the exact nature of the documents.
In a statement issued, DCNS said: “As a serious matter pertaining to the Indian Scorpene program, French national authorities for Defence security will formally investigate and determine the exact nature of the leaked documents.” While the French company did not clarify if the leak originated from within its broders, the Indian Navy, in a statement issued Wednesday morning, said there source of the leak appeared to be from outside the country.
“A case of suspected leak of documents related to Scorpene submarines has been reported by a foreign media house. The available information is being examined at Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy) and an analysis is being carried out by the concerned specialists. It appears that the source of leak is from overseas and not in India.”
Earlier on Wednesday, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said he got to know about the leak only at midnight and has asked for a formal report.
“This (the report) came to my knowledge at 12 midnight, it is a case of hacking. Navy Chief has been asked to analyze as to what exactly has been leaked,” Parrikar told news agency ANI.
Parrikar also said that the connection of data has to be identified and ascertained yet. “First step is to identify if its related to us, and anyway its not all 100% leak,” he said.
A report in The Australian revealed that sensitive information related to India’s Scorpene submarines has been leaked, with French shipbuilder DCNS, which designed the submarine, facing a leak of documents spreading over 22,000 pages. The Indian Express, however, could not independently verify the same. Marked ‘Restricted Scorpene India’, the DCNS documents could provide an intelligence landmine if obtained by India’s neighbours – Pakistan or China.
First of the Scorpene class submarines being built in India – Kalvari – went for sea trials in May, 2016 and is expected to be inducted in the Indian Navy soon. Indian Navy officials have said the six submarines, once inducted, would form the core of the Navy’s submarine arm for the next two decades.