Military plays down draft fears

The Defence Ministry on Tuesday played down concerns by members of the student-based army reserve force that members might be placed in the national conscription pool in the future.

Defence spokesman Thanathip Sawangsaeng said the proposal by army commander Prayuth Chan-ocha was only a suggestion at the moment, and would need further discussion before implementation.

Gen Prayuth told reporters on Monday that a national shortfall of army recruits through the normal conscription process has prompted the army to consider removing the exemption which applies to students who undergo territorial defence training (widely known as Ror Dor).

The army chief said that since the force needs 80,000 fresh recruits a year, he would propose that regulations be amended so that students in the Ror Dor course would have to go through the annual military conscription process required or most Thai males when they reach 21.

In one of the six policies announced in October last year, Defence Minister Sukumpol Suwanatat instructed leaders of the armed forces to develop the military’s reserve force and encourage more people to join the military.

Col Thanathip cited the minister's statements, saying the territorial training programme needs improvement to respond to the ever-changing environment. Objectives must be reviewed to create a better sense of pride among young people who serve the country in the armed forces, he said.

Col Thanathip said the ministry would take into account the current security situation, effects on the students and the ministry’s overall administration for any possible change to the territorial defence training programme.

About the author

Writer: Wassana Nanuam
Position: Reporter