This was the second lot of VT-4 tanks to be bought from China and another lot of 11 vehicles would be delivered later, according to Prawit, who is also deputy prime minister in charge of security affairs. He said they would replace ageing US-made M41 tanks having been in use for decades.
Prawit had proposed the purchase plan for Cabinet approval.
The Army under the previous commander-in-chief General Teerachai Nakwanich purchased 28 VT-4 tanks from China. The current Army chief, General Chalermchai Sitthisart bought more tanks so that they are sufficient to form a battalion.
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha meanwhile said that it was three times cheaper to buy military hardware from non-Western countries.
“If we buy from a Western country, we need to pay three times the price offered by a country in the East. So from whom should we buy?” he said.
General Prayut, himself a former Army chief, said that the quality of the purchased weapons had to meet the standards set by the responsible committee.
A Navy plan to buy submarines from China was not on the Cabinet meeting agenda yesterday. In January, the Cabinet approved Bt13.5 billion to buy a Chinese-made submarine and is considering a purchase of three more.