Our View: The volatile political environment that characterises Thailand’s history, with nineteen coups
and just as many constitutions, makes it particularly difficult to predict exactly which way defence spending
will be going. Nevertheless, it remains certain that defence spending will continue to increase, and the
country’s ambition to increase its military stance in the region, especially by joining the other countries in
the Southeast Asian submarine race, will ensure a number of opportunities for international companies
seeking to enter the Thai defence market.
Thailand’s volatile political environment, embodied in the May 2014 military coup, represents a significant
paradox in relation to the defence sector. On the one hand, it evidences the fact that the military has long
played a significant role in the political environment of the country. Successive governments, especially
since 2006, have continually increased defence spending in order to protect themselves from potential
coups. The military junta that took hold of power in May 2014 will continue along this trend as it needs to
ensure that a strong military can maintain order within the country and suppress southern insurgents. In this
sense, it is clear that defence spending will continue to increase, as it has in the past decade.