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PM suggests postponement of submarine purchase
Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has told the Defence Ministry and the Royal Thai Navy (RTN) to consider postponing the purchase of two submarines until the Covid-19 situation improves, Defence Ministry spokesman Lt-General Kongcheep Tantrawanit said on Sunday.
The Navy had earlier submitted the proposal for buying the second and third submarines to Parliament’s special committee considering the fiscal budget for 2022. The Navy had said it was their duty to submit the proposal to maintain its level of preparedness. The move had sparked criticism among the public and the opposition parties
“The ministry and the RTN realised that the Covid-19 situation is still affecting Thai people on a large scale and therefore agreed to postpone the buying of submarines that was scheduled this year using the budget of fiscal 2022,” he said.
“The ministry will discuss with China’s Ministry of Defence, who will sell us the submarines, of our need to postpone the project.
“The submarine procurement project is a government-to-government contract between Thai and Chinese ministries of defence. All agreements are transparent and were done through diplomatic channel with no middleman or broker,” added Kongcheep.
“Please do not use this project in a politically-driven debate that could escalate and affect the relationship between the two countries,” he said.
Kongcheep added that tye RTN had cut its expenditure and saved the government some THB3.37 billion in the 2020 budget and THB3.42 billion in the 2021 budget.
Published : July 19, 2021
By : THE NATION