Scorpene leak: Congress slams PM Modi, Parrikar for underplaying 'stunning breach of security'

| Updated: Aug 23, 2017 11:20 IST

New Delhi, Aug. 24 (ANI): Following the furore over the leak of documents related to Indian's Scorpene submarine, the Congress on Wednesday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar for their 'myopic' approach towards the matter and underplaying the 'stunning breach of security'. Addressing a press conference here, Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala asserted that India's national security stands gravely compromised which shocking leaks of the entire design plans and specifications of the Scorpene submarine, containing 22,400 pages of the 'project 75' carrying the emblem of the Indian navy. "It's perhaps the biggest defence disaster of recent times. This scandalous leak has put a question mark on India's maritime security and has jeopardised the initiative to build six Scorpene submarines of the French companies PSU, DCNS at a cost of USD 3.5 billion, which are, currently being built by the mazagaon dock ship builder limited at Mumbai," he said. Listing out the 'disturbing' details of the now leaked submarine designs, Surjewala pointed out 10 crucial specifications, which are now in public domain: 1. 4,301 pages of combat management system and 493 pages of torpedo systems 2. The secret stealth capabilities of the six Scorpene submarines. 3. 4, 457 pages of submarines underwater sensors and 4, 209 pages of submarines above water sensors. 4. 6, 841 pages of the Scorpene submarines communications systems. 5. The diving depth range details. 6. Magnetic, electromagnetic and infrared data of the six submarines. 7. Frequencies at which the submarines gather intelligence. 8. Details of speed and conditions needed to use the periscope for the submarine. 9. The noise specifications of the submarine's propellers. 10. Radiated noise levels that occur when submarines surface, level of noise at various speed, places where submarine crew can speak to avoid detection by enemy have also been leaked. Further stating that despite this 'Himalayan blunder' that has deeply hurt India's defence preparedness, Surjewala came down heavily on the Centre and Parrikar for saying that it's a case of 'mere hacking'. Accusing Parrikar, Centre and the Indian Navy of being engaged in an 'operation cover-up' instead of 'operation fixation of responsibility', the Congress leader said that there was a conflict between the former and the Navy over the matter. "While one describes it as hacking, the other describes it as leaks. The government has actually gone on overdrive describing this important leaked information as 'old information', 'damage not substantial' or 'operation capabilities not compromised'. I have read out to you the details of what all has been leaked and it is for everybody to judge, whether this compromises the operation capabilities of not only submarines but the Indian navy," he said. Emphasising on the gravity of the situation with most of the classified information now floating on the internet, the spokesperson added that the Centre and Parrikar have done nothing since the leaks happened. "With a coastline of 7, 517 km to defend with only 13 submarines which are nearly 20 years old and one nuclear submarine which is on lease from Russia, it appears that Modi Government is living in absolute denial vis a vis the security of this country," he said. Calling for a complete security audit of the Mazagaon dock shipbuilders in Mumbai and the Defence Ministry to establish the source of the leak, Surjewala hit out at Parrikar for denying the leak of being possible from within the country. "Can they do so without even conducting a proper enquiry into the matter? Can the Defence Minister reach such a conclusion without even seeking a full report? This reflects the myopic approach and complete apathy to the national security on part of Parrikar and the Modi Government. It is in fact intriguing as to how clean chits are being meted out without the matter having been looked at by anybody," he added. Posing a question to the Centre as to what steps have been taken to ensure that all the uploaded information has not already gone into the enemy hands, the Congress leader reiterated his call for an enquiry, adding that it must be headed by a sitting Supreme Court judge and that the government can have people from the three defence forces, the naval and military intelligence, the Intelligence Bureau or other agencies. "The Prime Minister and the Defence Minister must take the nation into confidence as to how they propose to deal with the maritime security risk, which has happened on the account of leakage of the designs, specifications and all other details of the projects of Scorpene submarines," he said. Meanwhile, Parrikar has asked Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba to analyse the extent of the leak and find out whether it is related to India or not. Parrikar further asserted that the leak is not 100 percent. "I have asked the Naval Chief to conduct full analysis of the incident as to what is the leak and what has been leaked about us. The first step is to identify, the second step is to identify the extent of unwarranted, but it not all 100 percent because we do have our final integration," Parrikar said. "It came to my knowledge at around 12 last night, what I understand is that there is a hacking. So, we will find out all these aspects," he added. The Defence Minister further said that in the next couple of days, they will come out with more information. On Tuesday, a report in Australian media revealed that sensitive information related to India's Scorpene submarines has been leaked, with French shipbuilder DCNS, which designed the submarine, facing a leak of documents spreading over 22,000 pages. According to The Australian, the leak details the entire secret combat capability of the six Scorpene-class submarines that French shipbuilder DCNS has designed for the Indian Navy. As per reports, the leak includes details of the submarine's underwater sensors, above-water sensors, combat management system, torpedo launch system and specifications, communications system and navigation systems. (ANI)