Thai junta shops for more tanks

After settling on a controversial plan to spend 36 billion baht on submarines, the Thai junta deputy head has announced that the regime will buy more tanks from China.

Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the deputy junta head and Defence Minister, on Wednesday announced that the Thai military will buy more tanks from China after Andrii Beshta, Ambassador of Ukraine to Thailand, informed the authorities that the delivery of the OPLOT tanks, which Thailand has already ordered, will be delayed, the Thai News Agency reported.

The Defence Minister added that delay is due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.  

“The procurement of VT-14 tanks from China results from the fact that Ukraine has delayed the delivery of the tanks. Also, Gen Teerachai Nakwanich, Royal Thai Army Chief, has already taken a trip to China and seen that [the tanks] could be used in Thailand,” said Gen Prawit.

The deputy junta head told the media that he does not want people to compare the budget for defence with the budgets for public health, education or agricultural product subsidies, saying that it is necessary to buy arms for national security and sovereignty.  

According to Maj Gen Kongcheep Tantrawanich, spokesperson of the Defence Ministry, Ukraine will deliver the tanks Thailand has ordered by March 2017, adding that Thailand will cooperate with Ukraine in a plan to build a domestic arms industry.