Secret info on Scorpene subs leaked, report sought Centre clears law to ban commercial surrogacy THE NEW RULES
‘CAUSE FOR CONCERN’ Navy insists India’s on-order vessels not compromised
India was scrambling on Wednesday to assess the vulnerability of its key Scorpene submarines being built in collaboration with a French company after seemingly crucial details of its combat capabilities were leaked.
The government sought a report from French shipbuilder DCNS, which bagged the `23,562crore ($3.5 billion) contract for six submarines in 2005, after The Australian newspaper reported that the documents could prove an “intelligence bonanza” for India’s rivals such as Pakistan and China.
The leak runs into 22,400 pages.
The military establishment insisted that the leak was a “cause of concern” but was not serious enough to compromise the Scorpene submarines. However, an official statement issued by DCNS in Paris acknowledged that the sensitive data made public was a “serious matter”.
“This investigation will determine the exact nature of the leaked documents, the potential damages to DCNS customers as well as the responsibilities for this leakage,” DCNS said.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar sought a report from the Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba on the “extent of the leak”. Parrikar, who said he learnt of the leak at midnight on Tuesday, described it as a “case of hacking”.
“The first step is to identify if it’s related to us, and anyway it’s not all 100% leak,” said Parrikar, who also met the navy chief to assess the situation.
The Indian Navy said the source of the leak was apparently “from overseas and not in India”. A naval spokesman said the “available information is being examined” at the defence ministry and that “an analysis is being carried out by the concerned specialists”.
The main opposition Congress demanded a “complete security audit” of the defence ministry following the leak. Party spokesman Randeep Surjewala said the audit of should be done by a sitting Supreme Court judge. The Indian Navy’s first Scorpene submarine before being undocked from Mazagon docks in Mumbai in April 2015.
India unveiled a draft law on Wednesday to ban commercial surrogacy, deciding to block foreigners, people of Indian origin, single parents and homosexuals from having children through the rent-a-womb service.
Foreign minister Sushma Swaraj, who made the announcement at a press conference, linked the law to Indian ethos.
“We do not recognise live-in and homosexual relationships…. this is against our ethos,” Swaraj said shortly after the Union cabinet cleared the bill to regulate the industry, estimated at more than `3,000 crore annually.
Only infertile couples who have been married for at least five years can seek a surrogate, who must be a close relative, said Swaraj who headed a group of ministers that reviewed the surrogacy regulation bill that aims to end exploitation of poor women. Close relatives “could include a sister or a sister-in-law or a daughterin-law”, she said.