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Govt defenceless on leak

Govt defenceless on leak
Highlights

An untimely comic episode in a tragedy might be disastrous to its consistency. Inappropriate words and usage may mar consistency of style. A character completely \"out of character\' might produce inconsistency.

An untimely comic episode in a tragedy might be disastrous to its consistency. Inappropriate words and usage may mar consistency of style. A character completely "out of character' might produce inconsistency.

The tragi-comic Scorpene deal outcome is stunning the nation. Here is a country, which is a force to reckon with regionally and looking towards further glory, being on the ascendancy in every sphere, facing an unforeseen and unwarranted situation, as has never been witnessed in the past, and yet unable to come to terms with the reality. The self-denial mode in accepting the unfolding threat is not just nauseating but demeaning too.

That the Scorpene leak is not an ordinary leak that could be ignored need not be underscored. It is a major, major security concern for the country. This is more dangerous than the Bofors issue and much worse than the Augusta Westland scam. The specifications lowered or altered in the case of the latter, or the money that exchanged hands in the case of the former, was too small compared to the issues of nation's integrity and sovereignty that confront us now.

Look at the Defence Ministry's response even before anyone asked for it in this regard: This is a leak. Perhaps, this does not affect us much. Next the top brass of Navy went ahead and said: No, this could not be a major concern, because the vital parameters are all redacted. Nothing much was given away. These are general specifications and requirements that are mentioned in every document.

The Defence Minister later contended "prepare for the worst, hope for the best." Why should India not compromise even on a single parameter?

Here is why. The Scorpene leaks put on public domain by The Australian are related to the frequencies of the sonar and propulsion noise at different speeds and depths. One could always say that the Scorpene is yet to be tested. There is an argument by a section of Defence experts that "as the data leaked may pertain to just the design bandwidth and nothing more we could always effect changes to the same at a later stage to avoid detection. Hence not a real threat!”

But, how do we alter the propeller-related acoustics is the concern of those who counter the argument. Is our enemy so foolish not to alter or tweak the data and manipulate the same to arrive at a reasonable conclusion in a trial and error method to detect the Indian Scorpene?

So do we go about and produce the same and incorporate it into our defences?

Secondly, the very argument that the vital parameters have been found redacted is almost cynical. It is the newspaper that has blacked out the data and the very data in the hand of someone who passed it on shows it all. It is a common practice in journalism to black out certain details before going public out of legal considerations. It need not necessarily mean that the leak is not serious. Let us hope those governing us are not blind to it. Let wisdom prevail.

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