Military strength: How India and China stack up

Military strength: How India and China stack up

The Galwan clashes, where 20 Indian Army personnel were killed, was one of the biggest confrontations between the Indian and Chinese military along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in the last 45 years. Even though this unprecedented and dangerous turn of events in the border region have set the lines working in the two capitals, an early resolution to the dispute looks less likely.

China has reasserted its claim over Galwan Valley, and its foreign ministry has made sharp statements alleging that Indian soldiers twice crossed the LAC. This has prompted Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to say that the government has given the forces freedom to “give a befitting reply” if there is any further escalation from the other side.

While the second round of talks between the two nations are underway, the present border situation has fuelled fears of an extended military confrontation between the two sides. But how prepared are the two countries for a conflict? What are their military capabilities?

China is in the third position while India stands fourth out of 138 countries in the 2020 Global Firepower military strength rankings. While the United States is on the top of the chart, Russia is on the second spot.

A look at the military capacities of the two most populous countries in the world.

Manpower: India has a total of 622,480,340 personnel while China has 752,855,402 available. India’s number of active personnel (1,444,000) are also lower than China’s (2,183,000). However, India has more bench strength with 2,100,000 in reserve in comparison to China’s 510,000.

Air Power: With 538 combat aircraft and over 700 helicopters, the strength of the Indian air fleet stands at 2,123. China’s total resources stand at 3,210, with over 1,200 combat aircraft and more than 900 helicopters.

Land resources: China is ahead and better equipped than India in terms of land resources. Beijing has at least 33,000 armoured vehicles, 3,500 combat tanks, 3,800 self-propelled artillery, 3,600 field artillery and 2,650 rocket projectors. India’s total resources include 8,686 armoured vehicles, 4.292 combat tanks, 235 self-propelled artillery, 4,060 field artillery and 266 rocket projectors.

Naval strength: At present, India has a total fleet strength of 285, including one aircraft carrier, 16 submarines, 10 destroyers, 13 frigates, 19 corvettes, three crafts for mine warfare and 139 coastal patrol vessels. China, on the other hand, has a total fleet strength of 777, including two aircraft carriers, 74 submarines, 36 destroyers, 52 frigates, 50 corvettes, 29 crafts for mine warfare and 220 patrol vessels.

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