Military's elite study course welcomes Paetongtarn

Military's elite study course welcomes Paetongtarn

Paetongtarn: Ready to network
Paetongtarn: Ready to network

The National Defence College (NDC) has confirmed that Paetongtarn Shinawatra, leader of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, won a place among the first batch of young executives to study a new defence curriculum, believed to open doors to important connections, which it is offering.

Ms Paetongtarn's name came 97th on a list of 150 applicants who have been selected from more than 500 people who applied for the elite course. The selection was based on interview scores, said ACM Poomjai Leksuntarakorn, chief of the NDC.

Of the 150 successful applicants, 50 are armed forces colonels or senior police officials and the rest are civilians from various fields including politics, he said, adding they are aged 35 to 45.

Among those admitted are Thananon Niramis, wife of Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul; Kanapoj Jomrit, a close friend of Ms Paetongtarn who is now a member of a team working for Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin; Rudklao Suwankiri, deputy government spokeswoman; and Chaichana Detdacho, a Democrat Party MP.

The national defence curriculum for future executives, better known as the mini-NDC course, is designed for mid-level military personnel, civil servants and businesspeople, including internet influencers, actors and actresses.

It is a key element in the military's soft power push, said a military source.

It is expected to foster closer connections among participants than the traditional NDC programme designed for executives in their 50s who will soon retire.

The source said the mini-NDC programme aims at raising participants' awareness about national security, enhancing their critical and analytical skills as well as developing leadership skills.

The military expects Ms Paetongtarn will come to understand more about the country's defence mission, the source added.

However, the military has long been accused of using the NDC courses to promote a patronage culture, to the extent Mr Srettha has warned participants this year against networking for personal benefits.

Some pundits said the course was tailor-made for Ms Paetongtarn, the youngest daughter of party patriarch and former PM Thaksin Shinawatra.

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