Scorpene data leak “not a big worry”: Manohar Parrikar

New Delhi: As a debate raged over sensitivity of leaked Scorpene data, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar today played down the leak, saying it is “not a big worry” as weapon system details were not included, a remark challenged by the publisher who asserted these will be made public on Monday.

However, the Minister while noting that he is speaking on the basis of Navy’s briefing to him, said there are “few pockets of concerns” because the ministry is assuming the worst case scenario. He also made it clear that the leak of documents on Scorpene submarines will not have any impact on any deal being worked out with the French including the Rafale fighter jet contract.

The Defence Minister said that the leaked documents put on the web of ‘The Australian’ newspaper does not include details of any of the weaponry systems of the Scorpene as has been reported in the media. Parrikar said that the Navy has assured him that most of the leaked documents are not of concern. “Weapon system agreements are with weapon manufacturers and they are separate agreements.

Secondly, all submarines have so far not done the 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.

Hours later, Cameron Stewart, the journalist who broke the story regarding the leak of 22,000 pages of “restricted” data on the capabilities of six highly advanced submarines being built for the Indian Navy in Mumbai under licence from DCNS, said those also have been leaked. “India’s defence minister says leaked data on Scorpene Submarines does not include weapons systems. Wrong. We will release weapons docs Monday,” he tweeted.

“When I say we will release a leaked document on Scorpene weapons systems, they will of course be redacted by us of sensitive information.” The remarks by the Minister came even as Defence Ministry sources played down the leak saying it does not compromise national security as the documents were old and did not contain details of weapon system.

The minister also said that Scorpene submarine has not even fully completed the sea trials, which is important to understand how it will work under water. The Indian Navy has taken up Scorpene document leak matter with French Directorate General of Armament.

“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”, he told reporters on the sidelines of a seminar organised by defence website “What I am given to understand is 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.