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Reality Check: Military Strength Of India Vs China

News World India | 3
| July 5 , 2017 , 17:42 IST

The situation between India and China continues to heat up following the nearly month-long standoff at the Sikkim border, the 'more than usual' amount of Chinese warships in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR) and China's outright warning of military action if Indian troops are not removed from the Doka La region near the Sikkim border.

Although unlikely, if blow came to blow and India and China had a military intervention, how would the interaction go? Is India prepared for the '2.5 front war' as Army General Bipin Rawat said or should India 'remember history books' as warned by China?

Defence Minister Arun Jaitley, responded to China's jibe about remembering history books by stating that the India of 2017 is not the India of 1962, to which China also stated that it is also not the same.

ALSO READ: China Wants India To Withdraw Troops, Says No Compromise Until Then

According to military analytics website 'Global Firepower' after US and Russia, China has the third most powerful military in the world and spends $161 billion annually on defence, in comparison, India has an annual defence spending of $51 billion. However, sheer numbers don't always win wars.

Here is a look at the Military capabilities of both India and China:


India has a total of 13,25,000 'ready-to-fight' active military personnel while 34,68,000 overall military personnel are enrolled in the army. In addition, around 490 million people from the Indian population are eligible for military service.

In comparison, China has 23,35,000 ready-to-fight active military personnel, with total 46,35,000 military personnel and an additional population of 619 million people fit to join the military.


The Indian armed forces have around 2,102 aircrafts which include 676 fighter jets, 809 attack aircrafts, 666 general helicopters and 16 attack helicopters.

China, however, has nearly 3,000 aircrafts which include 1,271 fighter jets, 1,385 attack aircrafts, 912 general helicopters and 206 attack helicopters.

Tanks and Vehicles

The Indian military currently has 6,704 armoured fighting vehicles, 4,426 tanks, and 292 rocket projectiles.

China has 4,788 armoured fighting vehicles, 6,457 tanks, and 1,770 rocket projectiles.

In terms of land combat, despite technological advancements on the field, the combat tank is still one of the crucial spearheads for ground offensives. While China has more tanks than India, India has almost 2,000 more armoured fighting vehicles than China.  

ALSO READ: China Will Resort to Military Action If India Doesn't Back Down: Chinese Experts

Naval Assets

In a case of military confrontation, naval strength plays an important role in both responding to territorial disputes and in enforcing maritime borders.

The Indian armed forces have 295 naval assets, which include 3 aircraft carriers, 15 submarines, and 11 destroyers.

China has only 1 aircraft carrier but has 68 submarines and 35 warships.

However, only last week itself, China has launched what it claims is the most advanced and largest warship in Asia which is a guided missile destroyer with a displacement of more than 12,000 tonnes, surpassing the most advanced warships of South Korea and Japan which have a displacement of 10,000 tonnes only.

Military Mobilisation

Roadways play an important role in the face of a military altercation as they help in mobilising the army allowing troops to access the required areas of combat.

India has a total roadway coverage of 3.3 million kilometers apart from which there is railway coverage of 63,974 km, waterway coverage of 14,500km and coastline coverage of 7,000 km.  

China similarly has a total roadway coverage of 3.8 million km, railway coverage of 86,000km, waterway coverage of 1,10,000 km and coastline coverage of 14,500 km.

ALSO READ: China Did Not Use Bulldozers To Destroy Indian Bunkers: Indian Army

Since the war between China and India in 1962, China has reinforced its military capabilities immensely, largely with a goal to become a dominating military presence globally.

India has meanwhile focussed on supplementing its military strength with air, missile and surveillance assets in addition to military growth.


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