Thai junta defends proposal to slash defence spending

- AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BANGKOK

Feb 19, 2019-

Thailand’s junta defended its $7 billion defence budget and annual draft on Monday after political opponents proposed slashing military spending by 10 percent and ending conscription after elections.

The country spends among the most on defence in Southeast Asia and recent big purchases—including submarines and tanks from China—have drawn criticism in a state riddled with inequality and corruption.

Its generals have grabbed power a dozen times since 1932 with defence spending spiking in lockstep with each coup. Last year the junta-picked National Legislative Assembly proposed a defence budget for 2019 of $7 billion, a $1 billion increase since the latest 2014 coup.

But Pheu Thai, linked to ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra and the country’s most popular political party, has vowed to end conscription and cut spending by 10 percent if it beats the odds and returns to power after the March 24 poll.

Published: 19-02-2019 10:54

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