Late on Thursday night, an Australian newspaper released more documents on the combat and warfare capabilities of India's Scorpene submarines, just two days after exposing that 22,400 pages of top secret data on the $3.5 billion fleet had been leaked.
Although heavily redacted, the nine new pages of documents from DCNS, the French ship building company which has designed the Scorpene submarine for India, contained details on its "underwater warfare sub system" and its "combat management system."
While the new documents contain information on the sonar and torpedo systems which are used for attacking enemy ships, those made public on Tuesday night contained details on frequencies at which the submarines gather intelligence, its magnetic, electromagnetic and infra-red data, levels of noise the subs make at various speeds, and what conditions are needed for using the periscope.
It still isn't clear yet how far this information has traveled, but experts have pointed out that this top secret data would be an "intelligence bonanza" for India's strategic rivals Pakistan and China.
While India has called it a case of "hacking" which happened outside India, DCNS has said that this could be a case of "economic warfare" against the company. "Competition is getting tougher and tougher, and all means can be used in this context," a spokesperson said.
The Australianwas "told that the secret data was removed from DCNS by a former sub-contractor in 2011 and taken to a private company in Southeast Asia before being passed to a branch of that company in a second Southeast Asian nation....A disk containing the data filed was then posted in regular mail to a company in Australia."
A French government source also told Reuters that documents relating to Indian submarines were stolen from French naval contractor DCNS by an employee who was fired in 2011, and not leaked. "It is not a leak, it is theft," the source said. "We have not found any DCNS negligence, but we have identified some dishonesty by an individual."
Meanwhile, Defense Minister Manohar Parrikar has asked the Indian navy to ascertain just how bad the leak is. On Thursday, the Opposition has accused the Modi government of trying to downplay the leak instead of trying to get to the bottom of it.
"The documents that have been posted on the website by an Australian news agency have been examined and do not pose any security compromise as the vital parameters have been blacked out," the Indian Navy said in a statement.
But even though The Australian has redacted "vital parameters," there is no guarantee that others who may have already accessed the documents would have done the same.
Cameron Stewart, the journalist who broke the story, also refuted the Indian Navy's claims. "There is confusion in India about the leaked submarine docs. None of the 22,400 docs are redacted, all sensitive figures are there in full," he said in a tweet.
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