Pakistani and Chinese spy agencies would be doing all they could to get their hands on leaked documents that reveal the capabilities of India’s new submarine fleet, according to two former high-ranking Pakistani generals.
That was if they didn’t already have the documents, they said.
Former Pakistani army chief Jehangir Karamat said Australia should be “concerned” about using the same French firm, DCNS, to manufacture its subs.
The report in the The Australian this week about a 22,000-page leak containing the specifications of a French-designed sub destined for the Indian Navy has been the lead story on Indian television and on the front pages of its newspapers.
“India assesses vulnerability of Scorpene submarines after a leak of secret data,’’ said the headline on the Hindustan Times, while The Hindu led with a story about the sloppy handling of the highly sensitive documents by DCNS: “Not a tight ship, submarine project leaked like a sieve.”
Indian politicians and defence officials are fuming and are hunting the source of the leak while trying to assess the damage.
“The French-designed subs are so advanced, so silent under water that they are extremely difficult, if not impossible to detect,” said a report on English-language news channel NDTV.
“But according to The Australian, the leak of the 22,000 pages has technical specifications that would make detection possible.”
General Karamat told The Australian the leakwas“mind-boggling’’.
“I can understand Australia’s concern (that the same company is building its subs),’’ said General Karamat, who was previously Pakistan’s ambassador to the US.
“I guess it’s too early to say anything but the report does mention that China and Pakistan would be interested. Indeed, anyone involved in counter measures would be most interested.’’
Retired general Talat Masood, who also served as secretary for defence production in Pakistan’s Defence Ministry, told The Australian the leak was extremely embarrassing to India and France: “The point here is that definitely Pakistan would be interested because India has been expanding its naval fleet and it would very much like to know what are the capabilities of the submarine … this document, to a large extent, would reveal that.”
He said subs were vitally importance in the region. “The Chinese are building the corridor, and so on, and also the Indians want to expand their influence on the seas and the US has been supportive of that,” he said.