NEW DELHI: Playing down the Scorpene submarine leak, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday said that it was “not a big worry”, but admitted there were a few pockets of concern and the Ministry was assessing the “worst case scenario”.
Parrikar claimed that the leaked documents put out on the website of The Australian do not include information on any of the weaponry systems of Scorpene-class subs as reported by the media, but soon after the comment, the reporter who broke the story contested the claim and said the media house would release more documents by Monday.
Describing Parrikar’s stand, sources within the Ministry of Defence (MoD) said 90 per cent of the leaked documents, so far, had only commercial and contractual details and a high level committee in the Navy had been set up to look into the matter. Indian officials are waiting for a report from French authorities probing the case to decide the future course of action.
Supporting Parrikar’s stand, ministry sources added that the submarine’s operational capability, which is the key for underwater warfare, has not been compromised. Sources also said there were several Indian systems and components which will be plugged into the submarime and are not a part of the manufacturer's manual. “Navy has assured me that most of the leaked documents are not of concern,” Manohar Parrikar said.
The minister also said that Scorpene submarine had not even fully completed sea trials, which is important to understand how it will work under water. “Weapon system agreements are with weapon manufacturers and they are separate agreements. Secondly, all submarines have so far not done sea trials. Therefore, the most important signature (movement of the submarine) does not form part of the documents.The most important aspect is that we do our integration through our technical capability,” he said.
“We are waiting for the report. Basically, what is on the website is not of big concern. We are assuming, on our own, that this has leaked and we are taking all precautions,” the Defence Minister said.
“What I am given to understand that there are few pockets of concern assuming that what is claimed to have been leaked has leaked actually. We are going by assumption of the worst case scenario. I think there is not big worry because we will be able out put things in right perspective,” Parrikar added.
When asked if the French manufacturer should have informed India about the leak which is said to have happened in 2011, Parrikar said the government would wait for an official reply from the firm. When asked how alarmed he was, he said, “If you ask me, I have always expressed my concern until a solution has been found. But the navy has assured me.”
Meanwhile, the Navy has taken up the matter with French Directorate General of Armament.