DCNS claims talks were on for more Scorpenes, India denies

New Delhi, Sep 3 (IANS) French company DCNS, which has been in the line of fire after its documents containing sensitive data on the Indian Scorpene submarines were leaked, has said there were talks going on for more submarines, even as the Indian Defence Ministry denied that any such negotiations were on.

According to reports, DCNS had offered to build three more submarines, besides the six Scorpene submarines which are under construction, and the deal was under negotiation for two years.

The report, quoting unnamed officials, said after the leak, Indian Navy is focusing on determining the damage done, and no orders will be signed now, implying that the leak had damaged the negotiations.

The Defence Ministry in India however denied the report, noting that the deal with DCNS is for only six submarines, and there are no other negotiations going on. It said there are several “unsolicited proposals” which does not mean there is a negotiation going on.

“Indian Navy has ordered only six Scorpene submarines and orders have not been placed for three more as reported by some media,” Defence Ministry spokesperson Nitin Wakankar said.

“Therefore question of cancellation does not arise,” he said.

The spokesperson added that the Indian Navy receives “many unsolicited proposals from companies (both Indian and foreign) for many projects as per requirements of the service”.

“This cannot by any stretch of imagination be construed as negotiations by Indian Navy or Defence Ministry,” he said.

Asked about the report, DCNS said it was “surprised” as the talks were “ongoing”.

“We were very surprised by this information. The talks are ongoing with the government and our Indian partners. We have not been informed in anyway of such a decision,” DCNS’ Media Relations head Emmanuel Gaudez said in response to an email query from IANS.

He added that he cannot make any “additive comments” at this stage.

Data leaked from DCNS that runs over 22,400 pages including crucial details of Scorpene submarine programme of India was reported by Australian newspaper The Australian.

An order by the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Australia has not restricted the newspaper from publishing any more of the leaked documents, and asked them to hand over the documents to DCNS.



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