Posted at 22:50 on 20 February, 2013 UTC
Papua New Guinea’s Defence Minister, Fabian Pok, says the country needs more soldiers in order to build infrastructure like roads and bridges.
Mr Pok has announced a five fold increase in defence forces over the next ten years to about 10 thousand troops.
He says the economy is growing quickly and using private contractors is too expensive.
He says rural areas need improved infrastructure at minimum cost to the state.
“We are now already engaging the defence force to build roads in parts of the country, building schools and other (things) already, so we see this as a very effective means of developing our country. In the next year we will have a lot of money going back to the districts and we want to increase the force in order to enable them to help nation-building. That’s what the government is aiming for.”
Fabian Pok says the build up and restructuring of forces is also needed for internal security but not so much for controlling the country’s borders.
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