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Q. Leak of confidential documents of Scorpene submarine: Discuss the issue of leak of thousands of pages of confidential documents related to the Scorpene submarines.
Aug 26, 2016 Related to : GS Paper- 2 and 3

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently the Australian newspaper reported that about 22,000 pages detailing the combat and performance capabilities of six Scorpene-class submarines produced by India in partnership with French company (DCNS) have been leaked. According to report the information related to Scorpene submarine is sensitive and highly classified. Report claimed that the data was most probably leaked not from India but from DCNS in France, but French Government claimed that it has been stolen in 2011, not leaked.

Background-

India had signed a 3.5 billion dollar deal in 2005 to build six Scorpene-class submarines, designed by the French company, at the Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited in Mumbai. INS Kalvari, first of the Scorpene-class submarines, is expected to be inducted into the Indian Navy later this year.

Nature of data-

  • According to report the data that has been leaked is reported to have details like specifications of the torpedo launch system, speed and condition needed for using the periscope and functioning of the above-water and underwater sensors.
  • According to report, the documents contain magnetic, electromagnetic and infrared data as also specifications of the submarine’s torpedo launch system and combat system.
  • Report claims, the data tells the submarine crew where on the boat they can speak safely to avoid detection by the enemy.
  • According to PTI, over 4,000 pages on the submarine’s combat management system are among the leaked information.

Implications-

  • If the reports are true, then it has major implications for the defence preparedness of the Indian Navy. In the case of submarines, it is their stealth that sets them apart.
  • If data on frequencies has leaked, then it completely compromises and affects the submarine operations of the Indian Navy, because it will be critical data for its operation.
  • It will have ramifications for the freedom with which Indian submarines can move in high-seas. The deployment of submarines will be affected since very vital equipment data has been leaked. Hence induction of INS Kalvari may be postponed.
  • But according to government has claimed that the leaked documents do not pose any security compromise as the vital parameters have been blacked out.

Suggestions-

  • How much our security has been compromised by the leaked documents related to the Scorpene submarines must be seriously investigated and it must be done in a manner that is free from bureaucratic compromise or turf-protective tactics.
  • Government must expedite the inquiry and determine the source of the leak, and whether there has been a breach at the original equipment manufacturer’s end and also fix liability.

Conclusion-

Leaked confidential data of Scorepene submarine is serious issue and it puts our naval security under threat. Government must investigate this issue seriously and book the guilty. Similarly it needs to address all the issues related to naval security.


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