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Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin Targets Technological Growth with Innovative Military Procurement Policy

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In November last year, rifles gleamed under the exhibition lights at a defence and security fair in Nonthaburi province. The display was no mere spectacle but a signal of evolving military strategies, as indicated by Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s recent declarations.

Srettha has underscored the imperative for the armed forces to adopt an offset policy in their acquisitions of weapons and military equipment. This policy necessitates securing reciprocal benefits as a precondition for any new procurement deal. Such benefits could span opportunities for Thailand to play a role in developing cutting-edge defence technologies provided by the countries supplying military hardware.

In a high-stakes meeting on Monday with Marcus Wallenberg, the influential president of Swedish bank Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) and Saab AB, Prime Minister Srettha floated the idea of Thailand purchasing a fleet of 12 SAAB Gripen fighter jets. During their discussions, Srettha took the opportunity to mention the offset policy, emphasizing his ambition to see the manufacture and development of the Swedish jetmaker’s technology within Thailand.

Expanding on his vision, he proposed the establishment of a SAAB aircraft assembly line, parts manufacturing plant, or even a repair facility on Thai soil. This would not only bolster Thailand’s defence capabilities but also significantly enhance its technological prowess.

Wallenberg’s portfolio is nothing to scoff at, representing an astounding 40% of Sweden’s GDP. Thus, his endorsement and cooperation could be a game-changer for Thailand. Prime Minister Srettha even suggested a small forum between Thailand and Sweden on the fringes of the next World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This forum would provide a platform for deeper discussions with Swedish companies on a broad spectrum of technological collaborations.

Interestingly, Srettha wasn’t solely fixated on Swedish technology. He mentioned that the offset policy would apply regardless of whether the Royal Thai Air Force opts for US-made F-16 fighter jets or any other models. The aim is clear: any procurement must offer Thailand avenues for technological advancement.

Meanwhile, Defence Minister Sutin Klungsang weighed in on another pressing issue, the Royal Thai Navy’s lagging 13.5-billion-baht submarine acquisition plan. Pending a legal review, Sutin indicated the next steps could resolve the protracted procurement delay.

This week promises to be pivotal as the armed forces prepare to convene and form a joint working group. Their mission? To implement the government’s innovative military hardware procurement package policy. Unlike the fragmented approach of the past, this new strategy aims for a unified, cohesive procurement plan across all branches of the armed forces.

Both Srettha and Sutin’s announcements signal a transformative shift in Thailand’s military procurement policy. With an eye on technological collaboration and streamlined strategies, Thailand is poised to not only bolster its defence but also pave the way for significant technological innovation and economic growth.


  1. Joe June 25, 2024

    This seems like a smart move by Thailand. Investing in technology and demanding reciprocal benefits will surely push their economy forward.

    • Sarah L. June 25, 2024

      Totally agree! Getting the manufacturing and repair facilities within Thailand could be a huge boost for local industries as well.

      • Joe June 25, 2024

        Absolutely! And not to mention the potential job creation. It’s a win-win.

      • TechGuy123 June 25, 2024

        But isn’t it risky relying on external companies? What if the geopolitical scenario changes?

    • David H June 25, 2024

      It’s not only about economic growth but also about national security. Having tech capabilities locally means less dependency during conflicts.

  2. Grower134 June 25, 2024

    I’m skeptical. Are they really capable of building such advanced tech infrastructure? Sounds too good to be true.

    • Patricia O. June 25, 2024

      Doubt is healthy, but Thailand has shown they can adapt quickly. Look at their past tech advancements.

    • HistoryBuff777 June 25, 2024

      It’s about time countries outside the West start leading in tech. Asia is a rising giant, and this move is a step in the right direction.

  3. Annie June 25, 2024

    What happens if the negotiations with Wallenberg don’t pan out? Doesn’t that risk the entire strategy?

    • John June 25, 2024

      Good point, but remember Srettha mentioned using the same policy with the US and other countries. They’re not putting all their eggs in one basket.

    • Grower134 June 25, 2024

      But those other countries might have their own set of demands and conditions. It’s not a sure thing either.

      • Annie June 25, 2024

        Exactly, the complexity of international negotiations can never be underestimated. It’s a risk, but hopefully a calculated one.

      • John June 25, 2024

        True, it’s a high-stakes gamble but potentially a game-changer if it works out.

  4. ChessMaster June 25, 2024

    This policy could give Thailand the upper hand in regional security. Regional powers should take note.

    • Eduard R. June 25, 2024

      Regional security would benefit, but let’s not forget the geopolitical ramifications. Taiwan, China, and ASEAN states will closely watch these developments.

  5. Techie June 25, 2024

    Offset policies are great but they have failed before in other countries. What makes Thailand different?

    • Gamer97 June 25, 2024

      Good question. Maybe it’s the broader tech visionary leadership of Srettha. Only time will tell.

    • Joe June 25, 2024

      Don’t forget the strategic partnerships they’re working towards. If they can secure those, they may be able to overcome the issues other countries faced.

  6. Larry D June 25, 2024

    Isn’t anyone worried about the military getting too much power and tech control? This could be a slippery slope.

    • Patrica O. June 25, 2024

      Fair point. Checks and balances are crucial to make sure the military doesn’t overstep.

  7. Michael K. June 25, 2024

    Interesting how Sweden’s economy is tied to entities like SEB and Saab. Could this give Sweden more influence over Thailand?

    • Ben June 25, 2024

      Influence, yes. but that doesn’t necessarily mean control. It’s a strategic partnership that offers mutual benefits.

  8. Philosopher June 25, 2024

    Diversifying military procurement can be a double-edged sword. It might bring in innovation, but it also introduces complexities in interoperability.

  9. Larry Davis June 25, 2024

    Isn’t it ironic that in a world aiming for peace, we celebrate advances in military capabilities?

    • Joe June 26, 2024

      It’s a harsh reality. While we aim for peace, strong defense is often seen as a necessity to maintain it.

    • Grower134 June 26, 2024

      That’s the paradox of our times. Peace through strength is a common doctrine.

  10. Skeptic101 June 25, 2024

    This whole thing sounds like political showmanship. Will it actually deliver results?

    • Eduard R. June 26, 2024

      Political showmanship or not, the impacts will be judged by the outcomes. Skepticism is understandable, but let’s wait and see.

  11. Optimist June 26, 2024

    Thailand stepping up its defense game while boosting tech capabilities is a masterstroke. Kudos to Srettha!

    • Techie June 26, 2024

      Agreed, but let’s not overlook the challenges in execution. Plans look good on paper but real-world application is a different story.

  12. Karen S. June 26, 2024

    Does anyone think environmental impacts are considered in military advancements like these?

    • Michael K. June 26, 2024

      Environmental concerns often take a back seat in defense discussions. It’s unfortunate but true.

  13. Alex R. June 26, 2024

    How will this shift impact Thailand’s global standing? Could this make them a key player in international defense?

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