Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan Friday vowed to buy the first submarine from China next year.
“The Navy has already decided to buy submarines. Initially, it will use the budget of the 2017 fiscal year to buy the first one,” Prawit said.
He said the Navy had its plan to buy submarines since 2008 and 2009 but he asked it to put on hold until now.
Prawit said the Navy now planned to buy three submarines from China at the price of Bt12 billion each.
“The price is not high because the payment can be made installments for up to ten years,” the defence minister said.
Prawit said he is confident that China’s submarine technology can compete against other countries’.
When asked why the government would still buy submarines after critics said the seas around Thai coasts are not deep enough, Prawit replied that the country has a lot of marine resources that the Navy has to protect.
He added that Thailand’s neighbours also have submarines. “Myanmar also has ten submariens,” Prawit said.