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

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.

Globalfirepower.com data shows where the three countries stand in terms of their military might:

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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