Brakes on Thai Plan to Buy Submarines

Maritime Activity Reports, Inc.

July 16, 2015

Pic: Chinese Military

Pic: Chinese Military

 The proposal to buy three Chinese submarines has been put on hold and would not be put into consideration by the Cabinet yet, said Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan.

Prawit said this month the navy had approved a 36 billion baht ($1.06 billion) plan to buy three submarines from China. The bid to buy submarines, which was to go to the cabinet Tuesday, was delayed until the Royal Thai Navy do more research of the project’s pros, Thai PBS reported.
According to Xinhua, Prawit said that the navy’s submarine purchasing plan would “not be submitted to the cabinet for the time being pending thorough study.” 
His comments come just weeks after the Thai navy confirmed that it had selected Chinese submarines over others from Germany, South Korea, Sweden and Russia to give Bangkok its first submarine capability since 1951.
Thailand, a staunch U.S. ally for decades, has stepped up engagement with China as China increases its influence in the region with loans and aid for infrastructure and as a 2014 coup in Thailand strained Thai-U.S. relations.
Prawit said the Navy should come up with clear details on the claimed benefits and to explain as to how suitable it is the go ahead with the purchase and well as to how it will improve the strength and potential of the armed forces.
Thailand has been considering getting submarines since the 1990s with both Germany and South Korea seen as possible suppliers, though deals have never been concluded.
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