The wide-ranging data leak on India’s French-origin Scorpene submarines hosted on its website recently by the daily broadsheet, The Australian, on two consecutive days clearly undermines New Delhi’s sensitive submarine construction programme.
The 22,400 leaked pages detailed the combat capabilities of the 1,565-tonne 61.7-metre Scorpene 2000 SSKs (diesel-electric hunter/killer submarines). Six of these submarines are being built under the Indian Navy’s Project-75 (P-75) under a Transfer of Technology (ToT) agreement between DCNS, the European leader in naval defence, and the Mumbai-based state-owned shipyard, Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL). The first of this series, construction on which began at the MDL yards in December 2006, is being launched in September, its commissioning scheduled a year thereafter, with subsequent boats delivered at intervals of nine months. The programme is running four years behind schedule, its original contract cost of US$2.63 billion in 2010 having spiralled to US$3.8 billion. The cost includes a US$1 billion Technical Data Package for MDL to gain competence in submarine construction, especially in the field of hull fabrication, outfitting, and system integration.
While the question is whether India’s security is under threat as a result of the data leak, another question concerns the motive of the morninger, owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp Australia and published out of New South Wales, in exposing a friendly nation’s defence agenda. The paper has been described as one that acts more like a propaganda sheet for the rightwing of Australia’s Liberal party than a broad-based sounding board for big ideas and public policy…Click HERE to read full article.