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French ex-naval officer behind Scorpene submarines data leak?

The government has ordered an inquiry into a massive leak of documents relating to combat capabilities of India’s under-construction stealth Scorpene submarines that has raised fears of a major security breach of the underwater fleet.

The leak -reported on Wednesday by ‘The Australian’ newspaper -was discussed by the cabinet committee on security where defence minister Manohar Parrikar briefed PM Modi and other CCS members. The $3.9 billion project is one of the largest deals in the world.

The assessment in government is that while implications of the leak need to be thoroughly examined, the data was written in 2011 with several specifications altered since then and the documents may not constitute as big a security concern as seemed the case when reports of the leak surfaced.

Reporting the leak of documents titled “Restricted Scorpene India” running to 22,400 pages, ‘The Australian’ said: “The documents detail the most sensitive combat capabilities of India’s new submarine fleet and would provide an intelligence bonanza if obtained by strategic rivals like Pakistan and China.” French firm DCNS, which is making the stealth submarines jointly with India, said the leak of documents is “a serious matter pertaining to the Indian Scorpene programme”.

The sea trials of the Indian submarines have been on since May and the project is behind schedule. The stealth technology will give Indian Navy an edge in the Indian Ocean region as it can collect intelligence and detect military movements.  Though Parrikar said he does not suspect the leak to be 100%, as much of the final integration will be according to Indian specifications -indicating that some parameters can be altered.

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