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How India and China stack up in terms of military capability

India has the third highest defence expenditure in the world, but China spends nearly four times more. It also has greater air and naval strength.

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New Delhi: Monday’s deadly Galwan Valley clash between the Indian and Chinese armies, the first casualties in a skirmish between the neighbours in 45 years, has left lingering fears of a military confrontation.

Some experts contend that unlike the 1962 war, the Indian military is now in a much stronger position, while others point to China’s defence budget being nearly four times that of India to say otherwise.

Here’s how the two nations’ military capabilities stack up.

Defence expenditure and personnel

Though China’s finance ministry declared its official military budget in 2019 as $177 billion, analysts report the actual figure to be between $261-266 billion.

According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), in 2019, China’s defence budget was $261 billion, while the corresponding figure for India was $71.1 billion. These are the second- and third-highest military spends in the world.

In terms of manpower, China has 21,83,000 active personnel and 510,000 reserve troops, while India has 14,44,000 and 21,00,000, according to Global Firepower.

Also read: The more troubling India-China conflict is economic, not military

Resources on land

In the realm of military resources on land, China possesses 3,500 tanks, 33,000 armoured vehicles, 3,800 self-propelled artillery, 3,600 towed artillery, and 2,650 rocket projectors.

India, meanwhile, has 4,292 tanks, 8,686 armoured vehicles, 235 self-propelled artillery, 4,060 towed artillery and 266 rocket projectors.

Air power

China’s total air fleet stands at 3,444, and includes 1,232 fighter jets, 371 dedicated attack crafts, 224 for transport, 314 trainers, 111 for special missions, 911 helicopters, and 281 attack helicopters.

The Indian air fleet has a strength of 2,141, including 538 fighter jets, 172 dedicated attack crafts, 250 for transport, 359 trainers, 77 for special missions, 722 helicopters, and 23 attack helicopters.

Naval forces

China currently has two aircraft carriers, 36 destroyers, 52 frigates, 50 corvettes, 74 submarines, 220 patrol vessels, and 29 crafts for mine warfare.

The Indian fleet, meanwhile, consists of one aircraft carrier, 10 destroyers, 13 frigates, 19 corvettes, 16 submarines, 139 patrol vessels, and three crafts for mine warfare.

Nuclear warheads

According to SIPRI’s 2020 Yearbook, the Chinese nuclear arsenal currently stands at 320, while India has 150 weapons.

Also read: China’s chairman of everything faces new challenge in Beijing’s Covid outbreak


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  1. India should seriously consider tightening the income tax like Ameican and Australian. Different slabs perhaps up to 60% for those who earns more than 50 lakhs. Majority of the tax money should be invested in the defense equipments and forces.
    A huge step needs to taken forward towards the vehicle registration for indivdual and buisness. Renewel should be done every 6 months through their drivers licence which already equipped with chip technology.
    Government buses and train should equip with touch screen automated card system. Security system should be enhanced give more to people and take from people. Perhaps every one is having smart phone in india. Should it possible to detect the identity of indivdual using their electronic device when they hop on and in govt bus, trains, office, hosiptal, theaters. Shopping mall etc just a thoght.

  2. There is saying “” when you want to avoid a war ,prepare for a war “” thats what india is doing right now . it’s psychological war fare to avoid war . Those who follow more than 4 strategic analyst including SG they can understand this situation . Although those who want through there opinions they r welcome 😇🙏

  3. History time and again give us lessons that no conflict or problem can be solved by force. War only gives destruction. It should not be the last resort also. When we resolved for war it is the failure of exploring the options. Result of world war II is still fresh in our memory. Now Japan and USA are friendly nation. But sadly we failed to explore this posture before world war II. It is true that both India and China is very strong militarily . Both countries have great potential which we should explore for competitive development. If we go for war today then I must it is the failure of political leadership of both countries first then come blind public opinion to gauge the final consequences.

  4. I can understand clearly from this there are traiters in the name of opinion givers or they are in real other country’s gangsters in the disguised I’d . Better is to avoid this debate and these columns.waste of time

  5. Our govt is a failure at every front…what it did was divided India and United our neighbours…..thats the perfect example of what Diplomacy shouldn’t be……..but honestly who cares here….all will be forgotten and forgiven if u bash up some minorities back home.

    • Mamata Banerjee is failed , and you people are shameless for country , always demote our govt and make Chinese ahead , I would say Deshdrohi

      • It seems as if criticising my nation means im a deshdrohi. Doesn’t ur mum scold you when are wrong? We hav full right to criticise our nation, find out its weakness and rectify them. Hypocrites like u and politicians are the greatest deshdrohis. Jai hind

        • My mum can scold me 100 times but comparing me with others is a huge disrespect of my potential and confidence.
          By the way, Are you Sharma Ji’s Son?

  6. The cry for revenge is surprising. When India claims that its soldiers killed 43 Chinese against the loss of own 20 soldiers , it should be Chinese who should ask for revenge. The present attitude is arrogance which actually was the basic cause of this tragic incident. The blood of the lost soldiers is at the hands of political and military leadership which threw these soldiers into unnecessary battle, and that too, without proper wherewithal.

  7. Bottom line is clear it only takes a couple of weapons of mass destruction from either side at which point the rest is obsolete.
    Both sides have capabilities god forbid the usage. Same for rest of the worlds armies.
    Who is kidding who.

  8. Till 2014 congis hv allowed China to grab territory & gain advantage.Now congis r questioning NDA GOVT as if they had done all right.War with China is not a solution.

  9. India is going to screw, clobbef the opposition forces. So what if we get hit.? Part of the game.
    Bharat Bhagya Vidhata.

  10. Going on war with China will be stupid. They are technologycali far ahead of us. The Indian Air force is using vintage Era planes. This will be like Japan hitting Pearl harbor in ww2. Let us hope diplomacy works, chance of which looks rare.

    • Only military budget and numbers do not decide the war. A famous Sino-Indian example is the war where India had only basic guns and equipment but still won the war

  11. What is the point of this article? Are you trying to demoralize the nation even before we begin?

  12. What is India ‘s Military Power? Q doesn’t arise, all of us Indians are taking it granted that Indian Army should take revenge. Boycott made China 1) Military Power 2)Revenge 3) Bycott Made in China ; when we think of reality considering where India stands in comparison of China, no doubt this is not India 1962; but China is also not the same, Now it’s giving tussle to USA, we don’t still reactions of Russia, if we think of Rus yesterday’s statement I feel Russia has openly not want India to be against China. The above three points I quoted I feel in present situation it’s not possible.
    Instead consensus is the only way to solve the problems

    • Only military budget and numbers do not decide the war. A famous Sino-Indian example is the war where India had only basic guns and equipment but still won the war

  13. China manufactures most of its weapons, fighter jets, and tanks etc. While dhoti bhikhaaris from third world country rely on begging even rifles from Muslim UAE, and other weapons from Israel, US, Russia, the UK, Germany.

    • Your criticism is going in vain. We won the 1967 war against china. We won every war against pakistan and we manufacture guns and rifles and missiles in our own nation not like Pak where it is begging for loan after having a debt of $81 billion and Indians do not train terrorists you know

        • In 1962 indian govt. Not allowed airforce to fight and even some of soldiers in 1962 don’t have a boots to wear, in 1967 ..indian army didn’t wait for govt to give command,they attack without permission on china and approximately 300 Chinese soldiers were killed and more than 1000 were injured .. Chinese army don’t have war experience,while indian army is best in terrans and valleys,they fought their last fight in 1979 against veitnam and get defeted in war ,they don’t even have proper army chief..their army chief’s were engineers mainly South Sudan they don’t fought and ran from the place while indian army help them to get them back on their position ..indian army is strongest army in the world in terrans and valleys ..India have Marcos,paracammando, regiment’s like Rajputana rifles,gourakha who were well trained ..and Marcos is like navy seal of United States ,so there will gonna very tuff fight between India and China if it will fought..but be optimistic and hope matter would solves on diplomatic level only🇮🇳💯

        • Our govt is a failure at every front…what it did was divided India and United our neighbours…..thats the perfect example of what Diplomacy shouldn’t be……..but honestly who cares here….all will be forgotten and forgiven if u bash up some minorities back home.

    • 70 years ailment will take time to cure though with bitter pills.
      Border is now being strengthened with required infrastructure which lacked for 60 years.

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