India: French submarine data leak no security threat
India said Wednesday that the leak of documents from a leading French builder of Scorpene submarines designed for India's navy was investigated and did not pose any security compromise because sensitive information was blacked out.
The Indian government said in a statement that France was asked to investigate the documents' leak to an Australian website and share its findings with the Indian side.
Six Scorpenes designed by French shipbuilder DCNS are being built in Mumbai and the first one is expected to be activated this year.
The newspaper The Australian reported this week that more than 22,000 pages of documents were leaked and that the information was suspected to have been taken in 2011 by a French former DCNS sub-contractor. The information included descriptions of what frequencies the submarines use to gather intelligence, where a crew can speak safely to avoid detection and specifications of the torpedo launch system.
The Indian statement said the matter was taken up with concerned foreign governments through diplomatic channels to verify the authenticity of the reports.
The leak also raised questions in Australia, which signed a big-budget deal in April with DCNS for 12 Shortfin Barracuda submarines.
Defense Industry Minister Christopher Pyne said Tuesday the incident "has no bearing" on the Australian deal, insisting the contract is covered by "stringent security requirements that govern the manner in which all information and technical data is managed now and into the future."
But independent Sen. Nick Xenophon said the government "should consider suspending negotiations (on the submarine deal) until it gets to the bottom of this."
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