BANGKOK, Sep25 (Reuters) Thailand's post-coup government has approved the 6.7 billion baht (211 million dollars ) purchase of Israeli guns, Ukrainian armoured vehicles and Chinese missiles, a cabinet spokesman said today.
The army would spend 960 million baht on 15,000 rifles and 259 million baht on 992 sub-machine guns from Israel, Nattawat Suthiyothin said after a cabinet meeting.
The cabinet also approved 3.9 billion baht for 96 Ukraine-built BTR-3E1 armoured personnel vehicles, produced by state-owned Kharkiv Morozov Machine Building Design Bureau, after heavy lobbying by Russia, China, and Canada failed.
The navy would pay 1.6 billion baht for ground-to-ground missiles from China, Nattawat said without giving further details.
The military, which ousted elected Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra in a bloodless coup last year, has faced criticism for buying new equipment at a time when Thailand's economic growth has slowed due to post-coup political uncertainties.
Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas told Reuters last month the military needed new tanks, ships, fighter jets and helicopters after the 1997/98 Asian financial crisis had capped annual defence spending at 80 billion baht in the past decade.
Next year's budget allocates 143 billion baht to defence spending.
REUTERS JK ND1550