Type 206 submarine (photo : Militaryphotos)
The navy chief is insisting he will ask the new cabinet to reconsider his proposal to buy six second-hand submarines from Germany.
Adm Kamthorn Phumhiran yesterday admitted he had been disappointed that the purchase of the submarines had not been tabled for the Democrat-led cabinet's approval earlier. He was not disheartened, however.
Adm Kamthorn said he would ask the German firm which the navy planned to buy the second-hand submarines from to wait for a while. The navy would seek cabinet approval for the 7.5-billion-baht purchase again.
"I'll ask the government to understand the needs of the navy and their children who would be deployed in a war to protect the country's sovereignty ...
Otherwise, we will have to wait for the next government," said Adm Kamthorn.
"Give them [naval officers] the chance to win a war. Don't let our ships be sunk by other ships that we cannot see," added Adm Kamthorn.
He said the navy had planned to buy submarines for 60 years, but successive governments had never given it enough money. The navy's current attempt to buy submarines was its third.
Adm Kamthorn said giving the navy and its officers equipment that could help them win wars or defend themselves was not harming the country. The navy just wanted to strengthen Thailand's defensive capacity and it had no plans to harm anybody.
Earlier, the navy asked the government for 48 billion baht to buy submarines but the cabinet ruled that this budget was too high and told the navy to lower the amount.
"Eventually, we brought the figure down to 7.5 billion baht. The whole fleet will get everything. And we will do it for the public. We don't get a single baht from the project," said Adm Kamthorn.
The navy has already informed the government and the public about the facts of its submarine project. The government should trust the information as it was the only agency in the country with sufficient expertise in this area.(Bangkok Post)