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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  1. T
    tholan
    Jul 14, 2017 at 10:33 pm
    what is this this? when the army chief himself said the other day that Indian army is prepared for Two and half War simultaneously then there is no need for hardware count. let the battle begin!
    Reply
    1. S
      salim chagla
      Jul 14, 2017 at 12:28 pm
      nothing as killing 2-3 terrorists is "zero" as per cowards like ' Uddin'...As our jawans / kashmir police are dying daily do the defense union minister brain is haywire next mad revenue mess ~ it was / is a mistake voting the b.j.p. ...even rahul is o.k....never realised that modi yoga/abroad...sad 1.31 billions waiting each 15 lacs ??? beggers eating leaves in bihar even bombay how come
      Reply
      1. S
        salim chagla
        Jul 14, 2017 at 12:32 pm
        7 tax in GST were lie's thus few things decreased ALL increased 3 lie-12 lie, 14 lie, 28 huge lie as actual is state tax plus malefactors increases 58 more
        Reply
      2. K
        Kamal Pasha
        Jul 14, 2017 at 11:50 am
        The Nuclear Bombs were invented by Manhattan Project of USA and USA is the first country so far to use Nuclear Bombs and killed millions of Japanese civilians.
        Reply
        1. S
          salim chagla
          Jul 14, 2017 at 11:44 am
          Modi jee earning money in reliance.....why dancing abroad~improve India, not SWACHA story give s y 400 square feet to each family in india~no flooding~madness by c.m.yogi vigilantes cow town
          Reply
          1. S
            salim chagla
            Jul 14, 2017 at 10:18 am
            NUCLEAR is a foolish idea started by u.s.a. in bikini island -Cheshire ....Hiroshima Nagasaki...do human to remain or ...thus can only use small arms/army and settle fighting by diplomatic ways thus now sarin, mustard, chemical gas is a horrible~warm Pakistan OR it will be exterminated by their own ISI / ISIS ps: except finish extremists as Lashkar's, ulfa, Maoists, separatism, hurreat, Hizbul - but silent-not singing by OUR union minister home
            Reply
            1. S
              Spider
              Jul 15, 2017 at 10:13 pm
              A what you think of yourself ...bahot bol liya khudko kya einstin KI olaad samjhta hai kya. Ab BAS muh band kar ke pille
              Reply
            2. S
              Shujauddin Mahuva Wala
              Jul 14, 2017 at 3:54 am
              Muslim all over the world have one slogan. Shah-e-Marda, Sherey Yazdza, Quwwatey Perverdigar, La fatah illa Ali, La saif-e-illa Zulfiqar. Qafir hey to hathiyar pey karta hey bharosa. Muslim hey to be teg bhi ladta hey sipahi. Remember 1965 war? The war of future doesn't require weapons !
              Reply
              1. V
                Vishnu Sharma
                Jul 14, 2017 at 3:42 am
                The best way to counter China's superiority in conventional strength today is to drop the NO FIRST USE of Nuclear weapons against China and state that the moment Chinese forces attack Indian positions in Sikkim, 20 Chinese cities will be targeted with Nuclear strikes killing millions. We need to use the same blackmail which Pakistani uses against us when confronting the chinese.
                Reply
                1. L
                  Logic Induction
                  Jul 14, 2017 at 12:35 am
                  The war of future doesn't require weapons !
                  Reply
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