New Delhi / AFP
A massive leak of secret technical data on Scorpene-class submarines did not originate in India but in France, Delhi’s naval chief said on Saturday, pointing to initial probe findings.
Some 22,400 pages of classified documents detailing the combat capabilities of the subs made by French defence contractor DCNS for the Indian navy were leaked to an Australian newspaper last month.
DCNS has implied that the leak may have come from India but the initial findings of a high-level probe set up by Delhi indicate otherwise.
The “preliminary probe in the case has found that the leak did not take place in India but at DCNS office in France,” India’s naval chief Sunil Lanba said on Saturday, according to PTI.
“In France, DCNS and the French government have launched an inquiry. Based on this inquiry, we will see what needs to be done,” he added.
The leaked documents included thousands of pages on the submarine sensors and thousands more on its communication and navigation systems as well as nearly 500 pages on the torpedo launch system alone.
The Australian newspaper said in its earlier report that the sensitive data was thought to have been removed from France in 2011 by a former French naval officer who at the time was a subcontractor for DCNS.
It said the data was believed to have passed through firms in Southeast Asia before eventually being mailed to a company in Australia. Variants of the submarine are used by Malaysia and Chile, with Brazil due to deploy the vessels from 2018.
Australia has also tapped DCNS, inking a deal in April worth Aus$50 billion (US $38 billion, 34 billion euros) for the design and construction of its next generation of submarines.