In the grand, strategic tapestry of national defense, where every stitch and thread contributes to the overall safety blanket under which a nation rests, the decision to procure submarines has bobbed to the surface as a notable thread of contention. At the very helm of this sea-going saga stands Navy Chief Adm Adung Phan-iam, a man navigating the choppy waters of military procurement with a keen eye on the nation’s horizon of interests.
On the eve of the panel’s second auspicious meeting, Adm Adung, a sea-farer in matters both aquatic and bureaucratic, shared insights that cut through the fog like a lighthouse beam. “The Navy holds its sails open to the wind of scrutiny,” he declared, professing readiness to dive into the depths of inquiry regarding the submarine programme. His call to the panel members was clear: let honesty guide your compass, for the future of the submarine project charts a course through your words.
The voyage to secure a new vessel for the nation hit turbulent waters when Germany, in an unexpected move, dropped the anchor and refused to supply a diesel engine, leaving the project momentarily adrift. Yet, like a plot twist in a high seas adventure, China Shipbuilding & Offshore International Co (CSOC) extended an oar with the offer of a Chinese-built engine, potentially steering the project back on course.
Defense Minister Sutin Klungsang, previously tempted by the siren song of acquiring another frigate instead, assembled a crew last month to navigate the murky waters of submarine procurement. The panel, a veritable crew with expertise spanning naval academica to fiscal forethought, is chaired by Gen Somsak Roongsita, a seasoned sailor in the ocean of national security.
With the panel’s mandate as vast as the ocean, they embarked on this journey on Feb 6, tasked with exploring the uncharted depths of the navy’s needs, the currents of international affairs, and the feasibility of the chosen course, all within 30 days.
Adm Adung, with the steadiness of a seasoned captain, expressed hope that the voyage would stay true to the navy’s strategic course, wherein submarines play the role of a silent guardian, a deterrent lurking beneath the waves. Yet, he remained open-minded, ready to adjust the sails should the panel chart a more favorable course.
“May our decisions reflect the dignity and interests of our nation,” Adm Adung remarked, echoing the sentiment of every citizen for whom the navy serves as a protective shield against the tides of uncertainty.
Confronted with inquiries about defending maritime interests in the time it takes for the Chinese submarine to transition from blueprint to oceanic behemoth, Adm Adung assured that the surface fleet stands ready to bridge the gap, a testament to the navy’s multifaceted strategy for safeguarding the nation’s azure frontiers.
In a tale that extends beyond the depths, to the diplomatic dance over hydrocarbon treasures hidden in the Gulf of Thailand, Adm Adung steered clear of entanglement, affirming the navy’s role as the stalwart guardian of territorial waters, leaving international negotiations to dance on the diplomatic stage.
In this saga of submarines and statecraft, what lies beneath the surface is a narrative of a nation’s quest for security, sovereignty, and the strategic foresight to navigate the complex currents of modern defense. And as the panel deliberates, the nation waits, hopeful that the decisions made today will steer the future towards safe harbors.