Sutin backs military modernisation

Sutin backs military modernisation

Nation must be ready for 'future threats'

Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang inspects a weapon at the 'Defense & Security 2023' exhibition on Nov 6 at Impact Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi proinvce. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang inspects a weapon at the 'Defense & Security 2023' exhibition on Nov 6 at Impact Muang Thong Thani, Nonthaburi proinvce. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

The Defence Ministry stands ready to support the development of stronger, more technologically advanced armed forces to fend off new security threats to the kingdom, according to Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang.

He made the statement during a speech at the orientation for Class 66 of the Diploma in the National Defence Course at the National Defence College (NDC) on Thursday.

Admitting that he had previously harboured "misconceptions" about military spending, Mr Sutin said funds for military procurements must be designed around not only the needs of the armed forces but also defence challenges posed by other countries.

"If they own submarines or F-16 fighter jets, we must have something of comparable capability to counter [them]," Mr Sutin said. "It's about assessing a competitor's prowess as a factor for allocating the right budget."

The military needs to constantly keep up with new defence technologies while staying relevant in the public's eyes, he said. Forces should avoid actions that distance themselves from the people, he said, adding the key is to strengthen and modernise the military, which must function as a lean force.

In procuring weapons, the underlying question is not what to buy but whether the purchases can effectively fight off enemies, he said.

New forms of security threats may come from outside the country, he said, giving the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and the Hamas-Israel war as examples.

If the country does not position itself well on the international stage, it risks being drawn into conflicts, he said.

There are also other security-related issues stemming from ideological conflicts between people in the country being played out in the streets and on social media, he said, noting they negatively impact pillar institutions.

"If ideological beliefs continue to clash and political disputes persist, they will evolve into a danger for the country," he said.

Security threats can also come from non-conflict issues, such as fine-dust pollution and transnational crime syndicates, which include call centre gangs, he noted.

He also dismissed concerns by some that, as a civilian defence minister, he may become at odds with the military over how to manage the armed forces.

"The ultimate [goal] is that the country is protected, which is not the job of anyone in particular, or the soldiers. It's everyone's duty," he said.

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