The Royal Thai Army is spending Bt2.3 billion to buy 14 more Chinese tanks to add to last year’s lot of 39. I have no problem with defence spending that meets our military needs, but tanks are for land battles, and which of our land neighbours might we fight in the foreseeable future – our legendary enemies from Myanmar or Laos or Malaysia?
I don’t see that happening, so what about domestic enemies? Tanks aren’t suitable for fighting terrorists, whose main weapons are IEDs and hit-and-run attacks like drive-by shootings at police stations.
Since World War II, the main (possibly only) action Thai tanks have seen was in conducting coups and suppressing student unrest. Surely we don’t need 53 tanks for that. For starters, the military should learn that its role is to guard against external threats and leave domestic peacekeeping to the police. Cancel the tanks and put the money towards clear and present dangers. A better expenditure would be on patrol craft to fight smugglers or equipment to fight terrorists.