NEW DELHI: Highly classified information on what makes six submarines being built in Mumbai so crucial for India's security have been leaked - more than 22,000 pages that serve as the operating manual of the Scorpene submarine have been made available with excerpts released online by an Australian newspaper.
The Scorpenes, being built for 3.5 billion dollars at the Mazgaon docks at Mumbai, are considered some of the most advanced of their class in the world. They are so silent underwater that they are extremely difficult, if not impossible to detect. But now their sonar capabilities, the noise they generate and details of the combat system they are armed with are totally exposed.
"The Navy Chief (Admiral Sunil Lanba) has been asked to analyse what exactly has been leaked," said Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, describing the data release as "a hacking." Navy sources said they are confident that the leak took place "outside India" and stressed that "the damage does not seem to be substantial" even as analysts in Australia suggested that's not correct. The Australian newspaper reported that the leak occurred in France in 2011. At the moment, it's unclear where the leak of data came from France or India, where the six Indian submarines are being built at the Mazgaon docks as part of a deal with DCNS, the French shipbuilder.
The DCNS Group has also been signed up by Australia for a 38-billion dollar deal, but the documents that have been released cover the Scorpene-class model and do not contain any details of the vessel currently being designed for the Australian fleet.
Excerpts published in redacted form on the Australian newspaper's website contained highly sensitive details of the submarine including technical manuals and models of the boat's antennae.
The first of the Scorpene class submarines being built in India, the INS Kalvari, took part in sea trials in May and is expected to be inducted soon in the navy.