What is India’s military strength?

India seems to be modernising its military and its nuclear capabilities keeping an eye on China. India's declared policy is of nuclear deterrence and no first strike. However, the modernisation program, particularly the ballistic missiles program, shows that India is intent on bringing the whole of China in its strike range.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 16, 2017 11:49 am
agni missile, india's nuclear weapons, nuclear missile An nuclear capable Agni ballistic missile on display at the Republic Day parade in New Delhi.

India’s military prowess is growing every year. It continues to face threats on both the eastern and western fronts from Pakistan, China, internally through militancy, Maoists and terrorist outfits. At such a time, India prepares for the most adverse situations and is in the process of a large military modernisation and overhaul. India has been fast developing new military technology, acquiring what is required, manufacturing weapons, aircraft, naval vessels etc to make India’s military a strong force to handle these threats. India’s nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles program has also caused concerns for India’s adversaries. Adding to this, the increased pace of acquisitions and commissioning of defence equipment shows that India is wary of the threats and wants to upgrade and bolster the military as much as possible.

India seems to be modernising its military and its nuclear capabilities keeping an eye on China. India’s declared policy is of nuclear deterrence and no first strike. However, the modernisation program, particularly the ballistic missiles program, shows that India is intent on bringing the whole of China in its strike range.

So what is India’s current military strength? We take a look:

According to Globalfirepower, the Indian military has a combined 4,207,250 active and reserve personnel in service. Since resources like aircraft, personnel, helicopters etc are spread across the three services – Army, Air Force and Navy – we take a look at air power, ground strength and naval power. We also take a look at India’s nuclear capabilities.

Air power

Air power is crucial in times of war, conflict, for reconnaissance, surveillance, rescue, special ops etc. The Indian military has attack aircraft, fighter aircraft, bombers, reconnaissance aircraft, transporters, attack helicopters, air superiority fighters etc. Some aircraft can serve multiple roes like the commissioned Rafale are multi-role combat aircraft.

Indian Air Force, Indian Military, India's fighter jets India’s air power spread across three service forces–Air Force, Army and Navy. (Data source: Globalfirepower.com)

India’s Naval prowess:

The Indian Navy is the fifth largest navy in the world. It has in its fleet tactical submarines, nuclear-powered submarines, conventionally powered submarines, aircraft carrier, destroyers, frigates, amphibious warfare ships, corvettes etc. The Navy played a crucial role in India’s victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan and also plays a key role in securing India and its interests in Indian Ocean, Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal, South China Sea etc.

Indian Navy, Indian military strength India’s Navy is one of the largest naval forces in the world and plays a crucial role in guarding India’s borders. The Navy is in process of acquiring and also indigenously building vessels to expand its fleet. (Data source: Globalfirepower.com)

Indian Army’s strength:

The Indian Army is arguably the backbone of the Indian armed forces. The footsoldiers who guard India’s borders and deal with the security threats to the country in the most testing situations have made the Indian Army one of the most versatile forces in the world. The Army’s soldiers are divided into 35 Divisions within 13 Corps. The Indian Army is the third strongest in the world, according to Globalfirepower on the basis of strength of personnel. China and the US are considered to be number 1 and 2.

Indian Army, Indian Military The Indian Army is the second largest standing army in the world. With over 1.2 million active personnel service in harsh environments like deserts, forests, glaciers etc, it forms the backbone of the Indian defence forces. (Data source Globalfirepower.com)

India’s Nuclear missile capability

According to Arms Control Association, India’s nuclear stockpile has 130 warheads. ACA data from July 2017 shows India’s nuclear stockpile as the seventh largest in the world. India has a variety of launch systems that can deliver nuclear warheads for example missiles launched from land or from naval vessels and even submarines.

India's nuclear arsenal, India's nuclear weapons According to Arms Control Association, India’s nuclear stockpile comprises of around 130 nuclear weapons. Also, India’s ballistic missiles program allows the strike capability to stretch to distances as far as 8,000 km.

READ | What is China’s military strength?

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