Thai leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra among 150 selected for new NDC defence course

Credit Paetongtarn Shinawatra official Instagram @ingshin21

The National Defence College (NDC) announced a fresh intake of 150 students for its new defence curriculum. Paetongtarn Shinawatra, leader of Thailand’s ruling Pheu Thai Party, is among the selected. Paetongtarn, along with other executives, is set to delve into this new curriculum which aims to broaden their perspectives and build strong networks.

Over 500 individuals applied for the prestigious course, with 150 applicants, including Paetongtarn, being shortlisted based on interview scores, according to ACM Poomjai Leksuntarakorn, the NDC chief. The chosen participants range from armed forces colonels, and senior police officials, to civilians from various fields, including politics. The age group of the selected individuals lies between 35 to 45 years old, reported Bangkok Post.

Other notable participants include Thananon Niramis, the spouse of Deputy Prime Minister and Interior Minister Anutin Charnvirakul; Kanapoj Jomrit, a close friend of Paetongtarn and current member of Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin’s team; Rudklao Suwankiri, deputy government spokeswoman; and Chaichana Detdacho, a Democrat Party MP.

The new curriculum, known as the mini-NDC course, is designed for mid-level military personnel, civil servants, businesspeople, and even internet influencers and actors. A military source disclosed that this course is a crucial part of the military’s soft power push.

The mini-NDC programme is anticipated to foster closer connections among participants than the traditional NDC programme designed for executives in their 50s who are nearing retirement. The programme prioritises raising participants’ awareness about national security, enhancing their critical and analytical skills, and developing leadership skills.

The military hopes that Paetongtarn will gain a deeper understanding of the country’s defence mission through this programme. However, the NDC has faced criticism in the past, accused of using the courses to promote a patronage culture. Even Prime Minister Srettha has cautioned this year’s participants against using the course for personal networking benefits.

The course has stirred up controversy, with some pundits suggesting that it was tailor-made for Paetongtarn, the youngest daughter of party patriarch and former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Politics NewsThailand News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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