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Scorpene data leak: India asks France to probe; denies ‘security compromise’

Scorpene-submarines3

New Delhi: The Navy on Thursday said it has taken up the Scorpene document leak matter with France’s Directorate General of Armament and has asked the French government to investigate the incident with urgency and share their findings with the Indian side.

An internal audit of procedures to rule out any security compromise is also being undertaken, the Navy said in a statement, a day after it stressed that the leak appears to be “from overseas and not in India”.

“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,” the Navy said.

Interestingly, The Australian, a newspaper based in Australia, had put out only few of the 22,400 pages that is in its possession. Citing security concerns of India, the paper had itself blackened out vital information. Officials had yesterday sought to play down the impact of the leak.

They had argued that the leaked documents are outdated technical manuals and don’t constitute sensitive information and is very different from specifications of the Scorpene subs being built for India.

In today’s statement, the Navy said it has taken up the matter with Directorate 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 matter is being taken up with concerned foreign governments through diplomatic channels to verify the authenticity of the reports, it added.

“The government of India, as a matter of abundant precaution, 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,” the statement by the Navy said.

Defence experts had yesterday raised concerns over the leak, irrespective of the leak compromising Indian security or not.

Defence analyst Commodore Uday Bhaskar (Retd), Director of Society of Policy Studies, had said that if the veracity of the documents is proved then it definitely compromises the Indian platform. “This is so because the leakage of so much technical details compromises the submarines capability to stay undetected,” he said.

Rear Admiral Raja Menon (Retd), a submariner who once headed naval operations, had said the breach of security of data should not have happened. “The loss of data is a serious issue,” he had said.

PTI

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