The Scorpenes, being built at a cost of $ 3.5 billion are counted among the most advanced submarines in the world. Their leading features include the fact that they are so silent underwater that they are almost impossible to detect. But with the leak, their sonar capabilities, the level of noise they generate, and other crucial details stand absolutely exposed.

Shocking revelations by Australian media about sensitive data leak on six submarines, including INS Kalvari docked at Mumbai's Mazgaon Docks, have raised serious questions on the safety and security measures employed by the Defence sector. According to media reports, more than 22,000 pages that serve as the operating manual of the Scorpene submarine have been leaked with excerpts released online by an Australian newspaper.

State-run shipyard, in collaboration with France's DCNS Group, is working on the project. The French shipbuilder, which earlier this year won a $38.06 billion contract to build Australia's next generation submarines, has suffered a massive data leak, raising doubts about the security of one of the world's biggest defence projects. The leak reported in The Australian on Wednesday, has outlined the secret combat capability of the submarines that DCNS has designed for the Indian Navy.

The documents cover the Scorpene-class model and do not contain any details of the vessel currently being designed for the Australian fleet. "As a serious matter pertaining to the Indian Scorpene programme, French national authorities for defence security will formally investigate and determine the exact nature of the leaked documents," a DCNS spokeswoman said in a statement.

First Reaction of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar
“I understand there has been a case of hacking, we will find out what has happened, First step is to identify if its related to us, and anyway its not all 100% leaks,” defence minister said.

"The Navy Chief (Admiral Sunil Lanba) has been asked to analyse what exactly has been leaked," the minister said, adding his first assessment was that it was an act of hacking and not a 100-per cent leak. "We do have our final integration and all that," he said."What I can understand -- because it came to my knowledge around 12 am -- is there is a hacking. So we will find out all these aspects," he added.

What Indian Navy Says

The Indian Navy stated that it is analysing the leak of data related to Scorpene submarines, adding that the source of leak is not from India. In an official statement the Navy said, "The available information is being examined at Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy) and an analysis is being carried out by the concerned specialists. It appears that the source of leak is from overseas and not in India," the statement said.

Also Read: Indian Navy Analysing Scorpene Data Leak

Also Read: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar Seeks Navy's Report On Scorpene Submarine Data Leak

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Reaction

“The matters in connection to India have no bearing on the Australian submarine programme which operates under the Australian government's arrangements for the protection of sensitive data,” said Malcolm Turnbull Australian prime minister.

Turnbull sought to deflect concerns about the leak, touting the high security standards in Australia, where the submarine will be built. The Australian reported that the leak occurred in France in 2011.

"But clearly, it is a reminder that, particularly in this digital world, cyber security is of critical importance," he told the Seven TV network. The breadth of detail in the documents creates a major strategic problem for India, Malaysia and Chile, all of which operate the same submarine.

Excerpts published in redacted form on the newspaper's website contained highly sensitive details of the submarine including technical manuals and models of the boat's antennae. "If it's 22,400 pages, it's a major stuff-up," the source said. "It's a huge deal.

Japan Called It Deeply Regrettable
"It allows them to understand everything about the submarines. What speeds it can do; how noisy it is; what speeds the mast can be raised at ... all of that is just devastating." Japan had been seen as early frontrunners for the contract, but its inexperience in global defence deals and an initial reluctance to say it would build in Australia saw it slip behind DCNS and ThyssenKrupp.

Tokyo called the decision "deeply regrettable" and demanded an explanation from Australia of why its bid failed. The leak comes as Australian Defence Minister Marise Payne announced that she would visit Japan this week for meetings with her Japanese counterpart, Tomomi Inada, the first visit by an Australian defence minister since the winning bid was announced.

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