Indian defence minister blames overseas sources for $3.5 billion submarine data leak

Indian defence minister blames overseas sources for  $3.5 billion submarine data leak

The leak contains more than 22,000 pages outlining the secret combat capability of six submarines that the DCNS group has designed for the Indian Navy. In photo: Scorpene submarine INS Kalvari at the Indian Navy's Mazagon Docks Ltd in Mumbai. Photograph: (Reuters)

Reuters Sydney, New South Wales, Australia Aug 24, 2016, 12.34 PM (IST)

India's defence ministry said today that the source of secret documents detailing the capabilities of the French-designed Scorpene submarine being built for the Indian navy appeared to be 'from overseas and not from India'.

"I understand there has been a case of hacking. We will find out what has happened," Indian Defence minister Manohar Parrikar told reporters.

The submarines are being built at a state-run shipyard in Mumbai in collaboration with France's DCNS Group at a cost of $3.5 billion, according to media reports. 

The leak, first reported in The Australian newspaper, contains more than 22,000 pages outlining the secret combat capability of six submarines that the DCNS group has designed for the Indian Navy. 

Excerpts published in redacted form on the newspaper's website contained highly sensitive details of the submarine including technical manuals and models of the boat's antennae.

"If it's 22,400 pages, it's a major stuff-up," the source said, adding, "It's a huge deal. It allows them to understand everything about the submarines. What speeds it can do; how noisy it is; what speeds the mast can be raised at ... all of that is just devastating."

The breadth of detail in the documents creates a major strategic problem for India, Malaysia and Chile, all of which operate the same submarine, an Australian political source with decades of experience in the global arms industry told Reuters.

The documents, which cover the Scorpene-class model, do not, however, contain any details of the vessel currently being designed for the Australian fleet.

DCNS, which earlier this year won a A$50 billion ($38.06 billion)  to design Australia's next generation of submarines, beat out Germany's ThyssenKrupp AG and a Japanese-government backed bid by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Heavy Industries, in a blow to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's push to develop defence export capabilities as part of a more muscular security agenda.

Tokyo called the decision "deeply regrettable" and demanded an explanation from Australia of why its bid failed.

(WION with inputs from Reuters)

STORY HIGHLIGHTS

The breadth of detail in the documents creates a major strategic problem for India, Malaysia and Chile, which operate the same submarine

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