Thailand reject calls to slash proposed defense budget and end conscription

M60 tanks of the Royal Thai Army during a Cobra Gold multilateral exercise. Photo c/o US Department of Defense. 


Proposals by Thailand’s opposition Pheu Thai party to cut the country’s defense budget and end conscription for military service has been opposed by the military government, even drawing on ultra-nationalist rhetoric to make its point.

Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, seconded by the Royal Thai Army chief Gen. Apirat Kongsompong defended the proposed US$7 billion defense budget for 2019, saying that it was meant to allow the Thai military to purchase new heavy weapons to replace their ageing assets.

The government also disagrees on removing conscription of Thai men into military service, citing that the threat of war is impossible to predict, while the military also serve other purposes during peacetime. 

The Thai military is being utilitzed for anti-narcotics, disaster response and relief, anti-smuggling, and border protection. Currently, Thailand conscripts around 100,000 Thai men who reaches the age of 21 that are not enrolled as students. The country remains one of the few countries in the world that still use conscription for military service.

The leaders of the Pheu Thai party wanted to slash around US$1 billion from the proposed defense budget and use the amount as seed capital to help young entrepreneurs.



[1] Straits Times
[2] Bangkok Post
[3] The Nation

Thailand reject calls to slash proposed defense budget and end conscription Thailand reject calls to slash proposed defense budget and end conscription Reviewed by Asia Pacific Defense Journal on February 20, 2019 Rating: 5

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