Following the massive 22,400 pages of leaked details of the Scorpene submarine in ‘The Australian’ newspaper last month, India is believed to have decided not to let French naval contractor DCNS a fresh proposal for three new submarines.
The DCNS is building six Scorpenes in Mumbai’s Mazgaon Docks shipyard. The trial of one of the submarines was conducted in May this year. All six will be inducted into Indian Navy by 2020.
An unnamed defence ministry official has told Reuters that New Delhi will not go for more submarines from DCNS.
Quoting the official, Reuters reported on Saturday: “We had an agreement for six, and six it will remain.”
The report also quotes an unnamed Navy official saying that India will not be signing any new order with DCNS.
When asked, DCNS spokesman Emmanuel Gaudez said he was “stunned” by the information but added that DCNS has not been informed of any such decision.
“The talks are ongoing with the government and our Indian partners,” Gaudez said.
The French company had offered to build three more submarines for India.
Yesterday an Australian court asked ‘The Australian’ to hand over all the data related to the submarine it has to DCNS. India too has asked DCNS to provide New Delhi all information about how much information went into public domain and how the leak happened.
It is also likely that some features of the submarine will be altered to mitigate the damage from the leak. What is concerning is whether the leak contained information about Scorpene’s “signature” – a combination of features that helps it stay undetected.
Former vice admiral and submariner A.K.Singh told Reuters: “If that is gone, then you might as well say goodbye to the submarine. You are exposed.”