Local Goa News

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Sensitive combat data of India's $3.5 billion submarine project compromised?

Defence minister Manohar Parrikar held a crisis meeting with Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba and defence secretary G Mohan Kumar here on Wednesday in the wake of a massive 22,400 pages data leak on the sensitive combat capabilities of Indian Navy's latest submarine project 75I (P75I) for Scorpene class ships.

Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources said that amidst concerns of critical information going into the hands of India's strategic rivals like Pakistan and China, Parrikar discussed the impact of the leak and probe team may be sent to Paris as the French firm DCNS, the naval design company is partnering P75I. Parrikar, later in the day, also briefed Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the issue during a Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting.
MoD sources further said that Navy has been told to ask DCNS to find out about the leak.

Even as the Navy said it is separately examining the leak at Integrated Headquarters, MoD (Navy) and an analysis is being carried out by the specialists concerned, "it appears that the source of leak is from overseas and not in India".

While a preliminary report from Navy is expected soon, industry and naval sources suggested that the leak may be a result of a corporate feud.

The matter came to light after a report in an Australian news publication, 'The Australian' said the operating manual of the Scorpene submarine have been leaked. Notably, Australia too has a $38 billion submarine project contract with DCNS.

DCNS, in a statement, said that "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 damage to DCNS customers as well as the responsibilities for this leakage," it said.

According to The Australian, the document marked 'Restricted Scorpene India' details the most sensitive combat capabilities of India's new submarine fleet and would provide an intelligence bonanza if obtained by India's strategic rivals, such as Pakistan or China.

The first of the India's Scorpenes, Kalvari, is currently undergoing sea trials and is scheduled to be commissioned in October this year. Six Scorpene class ships will be built at Mumbai's Mazagon Dock Ltd (MDL) at a cost of $3.5 billion.

Cong blames it on govt
The opposition Congress has called the leak a 'Himalayan blunder' and accused the government of indulging in 'operation cover up'. The party demanded a security audit of Mazagaon Dock Ship Builders Ltd, Mumbai.

DNA India News

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