Narongphan vows continuity of policy
The new army chief Gen Narongphan Jitkaewtae vowed to carry on his predecessor's policies, which includes working for the public good and protecting the monarchy.
Gen Narongphan, the assistant army chief who was promoted to army chief following this year's annual military reshuffle, on Tuesday praised his predecessor, Gen Apirat Kongsompong, as being a professional soldier who has been resolute in his ideology and in his commitment to working for the public good, and has further more been steadfast in his loyalty to the monarchy.
Speaking at the formal handover ceremony which was held at the Royal Army Headquarters on Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue in Bangkok, the incoming army chief vowed to carry on with Gen Apirat's legacy.
"I pledge to all of you that I will continue the obligations, responsibility, policies and ideology of Gen Apirat and look after my subordinates, to the best of my ability," Gen Narongphan told the gathering during the ceremony.
Gen Narongphan praised his predecessor's efforts in laying solid foundations for the army by improving the knowledge and skills of army personnel at all levels, a move that was in line with the "Smart Soldiers, Strong Army'' programme.
"I will protect and develop the army so it stands as a key institution of security that upholds the nation and the throne," said Gen Narongphan, who will formally take up his new command tomorrow.
During the ceremony, Gen Apirat extended his congratulations to Gen Narongphan, saying the incoming army chief is knowledgeable, has strong capabilities and has the spirit of a soldier fit to handle the responsibilities that come with the top army job and steering the army forward.
Gen Apirat also said he has been honoured and proud to carry out his duties in maintaining national security, protecting the monarchy and building peace for the public.
During his tenure, he said he was committed to turning the army into an institution that serves as a foundation for national security and reforming it to be more efficient.
He added he also did all that he could throughout his tenure as army chief to ensure better welfare benefits for army personnel and their families.
Gen Narongphan said he will take further questions from the media on Oct 6 when he chairs a meeting to lay down policies to the heads of army units.