Who is the Mightier – Chinese Dragon or India’s Elephant?

The two most developed economic nations of Asia – India and China – have again come in a face-off situation, this time at the borders. The tense situation along territorial boundaries of both countries have brought into focus the military strength of both (if in case war-like situations arise).

The armies of both countries saw a bloody clash recently in Galwan valley. “Who is mightier than the other?” is the question that probably is the talk of the town. Let us compare the military strength of the two nations point point.

  1. China has an annual defense budget of $179 billion in comparison to India’s annual defense budget which is just under $67 billion. As per the figures available with BRICS, China accounts for $14.14 trillion nominal gross domestic product (GDP) while India has $2.94 trillion nominal GDP.
  2. Recent data published the Swedish think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), China possesses 320 nuclear warheads. India owns 150 nuclear arsenals.
  1. According to Global Fire Power, an online portal that provides analytical data of military power, China seems to have an edge over India in terms of the number of ground forces and military arsenal.
  2. Going Chinese Defense White Paper, China has two types of nuclear-powered attack submarines in service, having second nuclear strike capability. India has recently built in second-strike capability with commissioning of indegenous Arihant-class nuclear submarine. 

To counter nuclear power of China, India has taken INS Chakra on a 10 year lease from Russia

China had the largest active military force in the world, with about 2.18 million active troops in 2020. The count for India falls far below from that of China. However, a study conducted the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Harvard Kennedy School said that India has key under-appreciated conventional advantages that reduce its vulnerability to Chinese threats and attacks. But the question of difference in military strength remains unanswered.

(Stay tuned for more articles on detailed analysis of military capabilities of the two nations.)

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