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

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Rahul Singh and Rezaul H Laskar let­ters@hin­dus­tan­ Moushumi Das Gupta moushumi.gupta@hin­dus­tan­

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.


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