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By Prachatai |
<p>The House committee scrutinizing the 2021 budget has voted to delay payment to China for 2 submarines after Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister and Defence Minister, ordered the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) to reconsider.</p>
<p>The Office of the Ombudsman of Thailand (OOT) has dismissed allegations of irregularities in the junta’s multi-billion baht submarine deal with China. &nbsp;</p> <p>Raksagecha Chaechai, Secretary-General of the OOT, announced that the OTT found no irregularities in the 13.5 billion baht submarine procurement of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), concluding that is not unconstitutional.</p> <p>He said a five-member committee tasked with investigating the matter concluded that the procurement was done in accordance with national strategic defence policy and that the RTN proposed the procurement.</p>
By Pavin Chachavalpongpun |
<p>Thailand’s military government hurriedly approved the budget to purchase three submarines from China, defending its decision as “strategically necessary” in the age of uncertain security situation in the region. However, the junta’s decision has been heavily criticised by the Thai public on the real need for the costly submarines at the time of the country’s economic downturn.</p>
<p>Soldiers have visited an activist calling for an investigation into the junta’s controversial submarine deal with China. &nbsp;</p> <p>On 8 May 2017, soldiers visited the house of Srisuwan Janya, Secretary-General of a political group called the Association to Protect the Thai Constitution (APTC).</p> <p>“At 2:30 pm, [they] missed me and paid a visit,”&nbsp;<a href="">Srisuwan posted on his Facebook account</a>.</p>
<p>Amid widespread public opposition, the Thai junta has given the green light to a controversial plan to spend billions of baht on a Chinese submarine.</p> <p>On 24 January 2017,&nbsp;<a href="">Adm Jumpol Lumpiganon, spokesman of the Royal Thai Navy (RTN), announced</a>&nbsp;that the government of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, has approved the purchase of a submarine from China. The 13.5 billion baht purchase has been cleared by the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly.</p>
By Kongpob Areerat |
<p dir="ltr">Citing arms race in Southeast Asia as a primary reason, the Thai junta has embraced a plan to equip the Royal Thai Navy with submarines. However, many wonder if the extra 36 billion baht in military spending could be a burden to the struggling Thai economy when it could be spent on other necessities.</p> <p></p>
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