The only upside of the leak of 22,400 highly-classified documents relating to the Indian Scorpene is that it is now no secret that this submarine in the Indian fleet is a naval and national security liability. That this vast trove of secret material went missing in 2011 suggests that anybody who wanted access has had it — especially Pakistan and Chinese intel agencies — for the last FIVE years. In other words, had the documents not been leaked to ‘The Australian’, the Indian Navy and govt would have gone serenely about their business, assuming that the supposedly super-stealth qualities of this French item would surprise an adversary or two in war!
It is certain that the Pakistan and Chinese navies are by now fully in the know of the minutest aspects of this boat’s on-board weapons, sensors, combat management system, etc, and that this boat is an open book and, unbeknownst to GOI/MOD/Indian Navy, has been for the past many years. Will IN risk taking this platform to sea? It will be blown out of the water at the first instance of hostile action. And yet GOI and Indian Navy seem to believe the crock put out by the French company DCNS and the French govt that this material out in the market may be “sensitive but [is] neither critical nor confidential”. Come again?! In fact, the navy maintains, per some news stories, that as the documents have redacted parts, the secrets are hence not out! This is laughable stuff. It appears the navy is, in fact, guileless and gullible. If it is, God save India!
And, what’s the guarantee this is all the documents that have been leaked? Is the Modi regime going to believe Paris and risk it all, or rely on common sense of which there’s always been a deficit in Delhi?
The BJP dispensation is not doing the one set of things that are imperative: Immediately TERMINATE the Scorpene contract, STOP production of this submarine at the Mazgaon Dockyard Ltd, Mumbai, and START the process of recovering the monies paid out so far to DCNS in the cumulative $24 billion deal.
To make it amply clear India means business, Delhi should recall its ambassador, ask Paris to withdraw its envoy, and if satisfaction is not forthcoming especially on financial restitution, the promise of more serious actions to follow.
But all this will depend on the Indian Navy’s assessment of the situation. The one quality everybody acknowledges about the present CNS Admiral Sunil Lanba is that he is a stickler for propriety and has a spotless record on corruption, which last attribute is not what many of his predecessors in the post could boast of. There are economically huge interests at play here. If Lanba’s report minimizes the real and irreparable damage done to the prospects of the Scorpene in Indian service, then his name will go down in infamy, and national security will take a dive. If, on the other hand, he concludes with every justification that the country and the navy cannot afford to have a completely compromised Scorpene in their service and that this submersible is, for all intents and purposes, useless and unusable as a fighting platform. And that, whatever the consequences for the country’s sea denial capability, India should therefore proceed to return the Kalavari to France and ask DCNS to pack up and get the hell out, he will have done the duty by India that he is sworn to do. In that case the Modi govt, however much it may wish to do otherwise with potentially another scam in the offing relating to the PM’s offer to buy 36 Rafale combat aircraft off the shelf, will have no alternative than to cancel the Scorpene contract and ask DCNS/French govt to return forthwith all the monies forked over so far — as much as $7-$10 billion. It is Lanba’s call.
Below are reproduced two new Scorpene stories from ‘The Australian’ and another secret document among the 22,400 documents the newspaper has in its possession. These will no doubt be dribbled out over a long period of time (to increase newspaper sales and subscriptions and keep alive the international interest).
THE AUSTRALIAN, Aug 25, 2016
Defence warns French submarine builder DCNS on data security
By Cameron Stewart
The Defence Department has warned the French company in the middle of the global
submarine leaks scandal that it will demand the same level of information security on the
new submarine project as Australia enjoys with its closest ally, the US.
The warning was issued privately to French shipbuilder DCNS by a senior Defence
official hours after The Australian broke the story on Wednesday that 22,400 secret
DCNS document about India’s new submarine fleet had been leaked.
Defence Industry Minister Christopher Pyne ordered that the warning be issued, showing
that the Turnbull government was deeply concerned by the ramifications of the DCNS
leak on Australia’s $50 billion submarines project, even though it said publicly that it
had no relevance to Australia.
Australia’s information security is most stringent with the US because of the importance
of joint facilities such as Pine Gap and their joint membership of the powerful Five Eyes
DCNS is expected to announce today that it will set up a new security committee in
Australia to help safeguard against leaks of classified data for the project.
The Paris-based company, which will design 12 subs for Australia, has been heavily
criticised in India’s media for the leaks which many Indian experts believe haveromised the country’s new fleet of six Scorpene subs.
DCNS Australia head Sean Costello said the new security committee would “govern the
measures which DCNS develops to deliver the Australian government’s stringent
security requirements for the Future Submarine Program”.
The leaks scandal has grown into a firestorm in India and France where it has been frontpage
news, as both governments seek to grapple with the damage it has done to India’s
page news, as both governments seek to grapple with the damage it has done to India’s
national security and to DCNS’s global reputation. The 22,400 pages of leaked secret documents, marked “Restricted Scorpene India” – reveal the highly sensitive combat and stealth capabilities of India’s Scorpene subs, including the frequencies at which they gather intelligence, their range, endurance, diving depths, the noise they radiate at different speeds as well as their magnetic and infra-red
Secret subs document: System and operating data
Two former high-ranking Pakistani generals have told The Australian that the Pakistani
and Chinese spy agencies would be doing all they could to get their hands on leaked
documents which reveal the capabilities of India’s new submarine fleet — that is if they
don’t already have the documents. Former Pakistan army chief Jehangir Karamat said
Australia should be “concerned” about using the same French firm to manufacture its
subs. In France, where a formal government investigation is underway, DCNS said the
leak might have been a case of “economic warfare” against the company.
“Competition is getting tougher and tougher, and all means can be used in this context,”
a DCNS spokeswoman said.
“There is India, Australia and other prospects, and other countries could raise legitimate
questions over DCNS. It’s part of the tools in economic warfare.”
Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has asked his navy to submit an interim report
on the leak in the next few days as the New Delhi government tries to work out how
badly the leak might affect the security of its new fleet.
“We have to be very careful in making our assessments,” Mr Parrikar said.
“All aspects of the matter will be examined and whatever preventative measures need to
be taken will be taken.”
Investigations in India and France will seek to uncover the key question of whether the
leaked data may have fallen into the hands of a foreign government and especially its
strategic rivals Pakistan and China.
The Australian has been told that the secret data was removed from DCNS by a former
sub-contractor in 2011 and taken to a private company in Southeast Asia before being
passed to a branch of that company in a second Southeast Asian nation. A disk containing the data filed was then posted in regular mail to a company in Australia.
DCNS is focusing its investigation on former employees and sub-contractors involved in
the project. At this stage it is not thought that the leak came from India.
The Turnbull government has tried to allay fears that the same sort of catastrophic data
leak of DCNS submarine data could occur when the French company designs its
Australian subs, to be called the Shortfin Barracuda.
Mr Pyne said he was confident that the subs program operated “under stringent security
requirements” governing sensitive technical data. Independent South Australian senator Nick Xenophon has called the leak disastrous and says the government should consider suspending negotiations with DCNS.
In April France was awarded the lucrative contract to build the $50bn new submarine fleet ahead of fellow bidders Germany and Japan.
The Scorpene leak is one of the largest and most damaging data dumps of its kind and
comes only three months after India began sea trials for the first of its six Scorpene subs.
The data leak is also a blow to the navies of Malaysia, Chile, and, from 2018, Brazil,
which also operate the Scorpene sub.
A 2nd story published in the THE AUSTRALIAN, Aug 26, 2016
Pakistan, China ‘keen to get hands on leaked subs documents’
By Greg Bearup
Pakistani and Chinese spy agencies would be doing all they could to get their hands on
leaked documents that reveal the capabilities of India’s new submarine fleet, according
to two former high-ranking Pakistani generals. That was if they didn’t already have the documents, they said.
Former Pakistani army chief Jehangir Karamat said Australia should be “concerned”
about using the same French firm, DCNS, to manufacture its subs.
The report in the The Australian this week about a 22,000-page leak containing the
specifications of a French- designed sub destined for the Indian Navy has been the lead
story on Indian television and on the front pages of its newspapers.
“India assesses vulnerability of Scorpene submarines after a leak of secret data,’’ said the
headline on the Hindustan Times, while The Hindu led with a story about the sloppy
handling of the highly sensitive documents by DCNS: “Not a tight ship, submarine
project leaked like a sieve.”
Indian politicians and defence officials are fuming and are hunting the source of the leak
while trying to assess the damage.
“The French-designed subs are so advanced, so silent under water that they are extremely
difficult, if not impossible to detect,” said a report on English-language news channel
NDTV. “But according to The Australian, the leak of the 22,000 pages has technical
specifications that would make detection possible.”
General Karamat told The Australian the leakwas“mind-boggling’’. “I can understand Australia’s concern (that the same company is building its subs),’’ said General Karamat, who was previously Pakistan’s ambassador to the US. “I guess it’s too early to say anything but the report does mention that China and
Pakistan would be interested. Indeed, anyone involved in counter measures would be
Retired general Talat Masood, who also served as secretary for defence production in
Pakistan’s Defence Ministry, told The Australian the leak was extremely embarrassing
to India and France: “The point here is that definitely Pakistan would be interested
to India and France: “The point here is that definitely Pakistan would be interested
because India has been expanding its naval fleet and it would very much like to know
what are the capabilities of the submarine … this document, to a large extent, would
He said subs were vitally importance in the region. “The Chinese are building the
corridor, and so on, and also the Indians want to expand their influence on the seas and
the US has been supportive of that,” he said.
New Scorpene India document published along with the above two stories with, as on the last occasion, parts redacted — inked, by the newspaper as too sensitive:
It has the ‘System Technical Manual’ for underwater warfare sub-system — various sonars — distributed array, active array, etc, & ‘Operational Instruction Manual’ for combat management system