PNG to increase military strength five-fold

PNG to increase military strength five-fold

PNG to increase military strength five-fold

Updated 13 February 2013, 22:41 AEDT

Papua New Guinea to build up its military to five times current strength

Papua New Guinea's government says it plans to build the country's military up to five times its current strength.

The Defence Minister, Dr Fabian Pok, has told the PNG parliament that defence force personnel will be increased from the current 1,900 to 10,000.

Dr Pok says the government has approved the purchase of new weapons, aircraft and patrol vessels.

Former Papua New Guinea Defence Force commander, General Jerry Singirok, has told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat program that while he supports the defence build up, he doubts the government can support such a large increase in personnel.

General Singirok says more than 2,000 retrenched soldiers are currently awaiting repatriation by the government.

He says the government has not provided any budget guarantees to prioritise the defence force.

"The government has not produced a white paper or national security policy that will justify the increase of the defence force," he said.

"I'm not so confident that the increase in the defence force will solve a lot of these in-house issues."

General Singirok says that PNG has unique security concerns as it's the only nation in the region that shares a border with another country.

He believes an increase in defence capabilities would ensure PNG's security.