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France's DCNS fears 'economic warfare' behind Indian submarine leak

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The Indian Navy's first Scorpene submarine before being undocked from Mazagon Docks Ltd in Mumbai, 6 April 2016 Reuters/Shailesh Andrade

French defence contractor DCNS fears that "economic warfare" is behind the massive leak of data about submarines it has sold to India, Malaysia and Chile and that Brazil is set to deploy. But Australian ministers have pointed out that the data concerns a different type of craft to those involved in its 34-billion-euro order from the firm.


French authorities have launched an inquiry into the leak, reported in the Australian newspaper, and DCNS says it is waiting for the results.

But a spokeperson told the Reuters news agency that "The competition is tougher and tougher and any practises can take place in this context."

While saying that the report was "of concern", Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pointed out that the Australian order is for 12 Shortfin Barracudas not Scorpene submarines.

The Barracudas' secret combat system is being supplied by the US.

India orders inquiry

Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar ordered an inquiry to find out "what has been leaked and how much is about us".

The leaks gave the combat capabilities of the Indian fleet, according to the Australian, along with thousands of pages on the submarines' sensors and their communication and navigation system.

The Australian said DCNS implied that the leak may have come from India rather than France.

The daily, however, said the data was thought to have been removed from France in 2011 by a former French naval officer who at the time was a subcontractor for DCNS.