More Scorpene data made public

Indian Navy takes up issue with French govt., seeks probe

Updated - December 04, 2021 10:59 pm IST

Published - August 25, 2016 03:00 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Indian Navy's first Scorpene class submarine before being undocked from the Mazagon Docks Limited in Mumbai on April 6, 2015.

Indian Navy's first Scorpene class submarine before being undocked from the Mazagon Docks Limited in Mumbai on April 6, 2015.

More documents were made public late on Thursday night from the 22,400 pages of the data on the combat and stealth capabilities of the Scorpene submarine that were leaked from the French manufacturer, DCNS.

The Australian, the newspaper which reported the data leak on Wednesday, posted nine pages on its website, consisting of the technical manual related to the Scorpene’s underwater warfare sub-system and the operating instruction manual related to the Combat Management System (CMS), among other data.

The government on Thursday claimed that it was taking up the issue with foreign governments through diplomatic channels.

“The Indian Navy has taken up the matter with the Director General of Armament of the French Government, expressing concern over this incident, and has requested the French Government to investigate this incident with urgency and share their findings with the Indian side,” the Navy said in a statement.

The detailed assessment of the potential impact of the leak is being undertaken by a high-level committee constituted by the Defence Ministry, and the Navy is taking all necessary steps to mitigate any probable security compromise, the statement said.

The document seems like an instruction manual and does not show any significant addition to what was released, observed Commodore Uday Bhaskar (retd.), Director of Society of Policy Studies.

“This does not add to any higher degree of vulnerability than earlier but it shows the level of documentation available in the public,” he said.

The accompanying report in The Australian quotes two retired Pakistani Generals as saying: “The Pakistani and Chinese spy agencies would be doing all they could to get their hands on leaked documents which reveal the capabilities of India’s new submarine fleet — that is, if they don’t already have the documents.”

The Navy said in the statement that “the documents that have been posted on the website by an Australian news agency have been examined and do not pose any security compromise as the vital parameters have been blacked out.”

Journalist counters Navy’s claim

The Australian reporter Cameron Stewart, who scooped the story, said the claim was “completely laughable.”

Mr. Stewart told The Hindu : “We blacked those documents out ourselves because we knew we couldn't put classified info on the web. The documents themselves - all 22,400 of them - are completely unredacted and have all the sensitive data in them. We explained that in our original story. They are either incredibly stupid or are deliberately misleading the Indian people in order to play down the damage to India's national security.”

The Navy’s statement noted that as a matter of precaution, the government was also examining the sensitivity of the information in the leaked documents to determine if it was compromised. “An internal audit of procedures to rule out any security compromise is also being undertaken,” it said.

Sources at the Mazgaon Dock Limited (MDL), the manufacturer of the submarine in India, ruled out any compromise or leak from their end. “Our cybersecurity is very good. All procedures are followed,” an official said.

On the ongoing investigation by the Defence Ministry and the Navy, the official said they had no role in it and added: “We will assist as required.”

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