Military strength: How do India, China and Pakistan compare?

India is flanked by a security threat from the east and west by China and Pakistan. While Pakistan's military is in the hands of unpredictable generals obsessed with Kashmir, China's military expansion has taken the world by surprise. data shows where the three countries stand in terms of their military might.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: July 18, 2017 5:21 pm
 india, china, india-china relations, china aircraft carrier, india military, indian navy, arms race, india economy, india-china-economy, world news, india news, indian express Aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya; centre, taking party in Indian Navy’s Theatre Level Exercise. (Source: Twitter/@indiannavy)

India, Pakistan and China–three neighbours that are part of one of the most volatile regions in the world in terms of border security and international territorial conflict. India is flanked by a security threat from the east and west by China and Pakistan. While Pakistan’s military is in the hands of unpredictable generals obsessed with Kashmir, China’s military expansion has taken the world by surprise.

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.

READ | What is India’s military strength?

READ | What is China’s military strength?

READ | What is Pakistan’s military strength? data shows where the three countries stand in terms of their military might:

India, China, Pakistan, military strength Here is a comparison of the military might of India, Pakistan and China. Source (

The Chinese People’s Liberation Army is the defence service force of China. PLA was formed in 1972 and it comprises ground forces, naval forces, artillery, armed police and air force. Chinese law mandates mandatory military service for its citizens and the bulk of the force is made of personnel in the age bracket of 18-49 years. Due to the huge number of volunteers the PLA gets each year, it has never had to enforce conscription. Despite being the largest Army, it is not the most modern force in the world considering the budget it allocates for defence. In 2017, Chinese defence budget allocation was $152 billion.

The Pakistani threat is increased by virtue of its ever increasing engagement with China. As the forces attain higher interoperability with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor in the works, the security situation on the western front now becomes even more serious. The country has had close ties with China since the 1960s and both countries are actively involved in military technology exchange and development of weapons systems. It sources the bulk of its military equipment and supplies from the US and China.

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  1. P
    Jul 19, 2017 at 12:36 am
    Barking dogs seldom bite. However, India must call Chinese bluff to be a world power. Clearly, a war with China will open fronts all across Indo-Chinese border. Pak will aid China by opening fronts across Indo-Pak borders. The 5th column of Pak in Kashmir will activate sleeper cells. The 5th column of China in Darjeeling and north-east will aid and abet their war efforts. This will be a long drawn affair India will reach the brink of exercising its nuclear options. Diplomatically, India will enjoy international support excepting from the usual suspects in the middle-east. Result will be loss of Indian territory temporarily to China. China will suffer economic debacle- India being a leading importer of its goods. War will create instability in some parts of China. Pakistan will not be able to sustain war efforts. Their problems will be compounded by not so friendly Afghanistan. Sikkim will also temporarily lose territory to China. Finally, Russia will mediate to end the war.
    1. V
      Vishnu Sharma
      Jul 18, 2017 at 3:56 am
      It clearly shows that if India and Pakistan were one country then We would have been more than match for China and neither did Pakistan need to treat china as its sugar Daddy nor India needed to be scared of China. Since we are divided into two hostile nations. the ENITRE subcontinent has lost to chinese hegemony. Bangladesh's armed forces would also have been part of the combined might of that GREAT INDIAN NATION which was never realized. After the Brits, be ready to kowtow to your new masters the chinese. Foolish people of the subcontinent divided themselves and only the chinese monkey profited due to this constant fighting between the two cates.
      1. I
        India Ka
        Jul 18, 2017 at 2:30 am
        A typical nonsensical article written by a scared fanatic Indian who wants to fight but doesn't want to get hurt. If numbers could win the war then mathematicians were the kings. For example, America has always failed in every battle although America has state of the art weapons' technology. Victory always goes into the bag of that party whose soldiers are not afraid of death whereas Indian soldiers are always get scared even if an explosive blasts 100 miles away
        1. K
          Kamal Pasha
          Jul 18, 2017 at 12:37 am
          The morale of Indians is very down. Every day media give self made comparison showing India superior to boost the morale of public.
          1. B
            Bert Brech
            Jul 17, 2017 at 6:53 pm
            Bert Bertt•1 sec ago india had better be ready for war with china and pakistan. the situation is terrible with china, and it looks as if years of indian blindness and laziness and neglect are going to exact a horrible price. arunachel pradesh, assam, nagaland, manipur, tripura, meghalaya are likely soon to be cut away from india and bhutan and sikkim will also pass into the chinese sphere. indians have been too foolish for too long. they should have made an alliance with the usa long ago. they depend on arms from outside and have no reliable ally thanks to their policy of not committing themselves to any alliance. india's only hope is if it credibly threatens nuclear retaliation for chinese invasion of its territory. kashmir will soon be lost by india under a joint chinese and pakistani attack. i am an indian but i can't see how this can end well for india.
            1. K
              Kamal Pasha
              Jul 18, 2017 at 12:41 am
              Bert Brech : USA will not fight for any country but will always want friedly countries to fight wars and mint billions in short time.
            2. T
              Jul 17, 2017 at 6:10 pm
              Now imagine a combined attack by China and Pakistan-----Modi and Company along with Bhakts think that we can defeat them with one swat 👿
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