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