The Royal Thai Navy held a press conference on Monday to defend the submarine deal.
(Photo from Thai Royal Navy)
The Royal Thai Navy (RTN) has agreed to cut the 3.925 billion baht budget, allocated for the 2021 fiscal year’s instalment for its purchase of submarines, so that the money can be used by the Government to address other pressing problems of more immediate interest to the people.
The agreement on the cutback was formally notified to the Budget Scrutiny Committee on Monday by Vice Admiral Thirakul Kanchana, the RTN’s comptroller-general, acting on behalf of the Navy’s Commander-in-Chief.
In the letter of notification, the RTN said that, after having considered the impacts on the country’s economy of the COVID-19 pandemic, it agrees to cut the amount, although the cutback will affect the RTN’s operational plan and national interests as a whole.
The RTN further said that it is determined to develop and make use of existing capabilities to reduce the impact, as well as risk stemming from the postponement of the procurement by one year.
After having received the notification from the RTN, the House Budget Scrutiny Committee agreed to the cutback by 63 votes with three abstentions.
The RTN’s about-face came after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha personally asked the RTN to negotiate with the Chinese supplier for a postponement of the submarine project, so the money can be used for more pressing needs.