India vs China on Military Strength – Conventional and Nuclear

India vs China on Military Strength – Conventional and Nuclear

India vs China on Military Strength – Conventional and Nuclear Dmitri June 5th, 2007 As two rising Asian powers with high GDP growths and increasing geo-political influence, India and China have been arch rivals in their race to superpowerdom. The race for regional dominance between these two countries has also spawned a race for militarisation, with India sparing no efforts to match China’s military might Your Text Will Be Complete Promptly! – click here to find out more  . A comparative analysis is therefore overdue, to see how India and China fare against each other in their military strengths.

According to United States DoD (Department of Defense) reports for 2006, China’s military expenditure is estimated to be 80 billion US dollars. However, the official Chinese CPC government quote is a $30 billion military expenditure (which a lot of analysts believe is underquoted). The actual Chinese military capabilities and budget are shrouded in deep secrecy to prevent foreign countries having an idea of its military might…and perhaps to create the strategic advantage of uncertainity. If we were to go by the conservative official Chinese figure of $30 billion, it would put China second only to USA in global military spending.

On the other side, India’s official military expenditure for 2006 is quoted at $22 billion by the Ministry of Finance (India) Budget (2006-2007). India however, does not keep a level of secrecy as cloaked as China does, as its democratic government system requires public accountability. By its official 2006 military budget figures, India stands at 9th position in global military spending. In 2006 India’s active military personell numbered over 1,325,000 while China was significantly higher at 2,255,000.

In air defence, China’s PLA (People’s Liberation Army) Air Force has 9,218 aircrafts of which about 2300 are combat aircrafts, operating from its 489+ air bases. The Indian Air Force has 3382 aircrafts which includes 1335 combat aircrafts operating from 334+ bases and its sole aircraft carrier INS Viraat. The air superiority in China’s PLAAF is maintained by its fleet of Russian Su-30 MK and indigenously built J-10 fighters. Indian Air Force, on the other hand has French built Dassault Mirage 2000s and Russian Su-30 MKI as the best aircrafts in its combat fleet (no indigenous fighters or aircrafts have been deployed by India so far).

Indian Navy is the world’s eighth largest navy with a with a fleet of 145 vessels consisting of missile-capable warships, advanced submarines, the latest naval aircrafts and an aircraft carrier in its inventory. It is experienced both in combat and rescue operations during wartime and peace as seen from its wars with Pakistan in 1971, the December 2004 Tsunami, etc. In comparison, China’s PLA Navy with its fleet of 284 vessels is quantitatively larger but lacking in actual war experience, which could undermine its strategic capability.

As of 2007, China has no aircraft carriers in its naval fleet but is slated to build and induct an aircraft carrier by 2010. In strategic nuclear defence and delivery systems, China’s PLA is miles ahead of India’s nuclear forces. The PLA’s stockpile is estimated to have 200-400 active nuclear warheads. In comparison, India’s strategic nuclear force is estimated to have stockpiled about 50-70 nuclear warheads. The most powerful warhead tested by India had an yield of 0. 05 megatons which is quite small compared to China’s highest yield of 4 megatons.

India’s nuclear delivery system consists of bombers, supersonic cruise missiles and medium range ballistic missiles. Agni 2, India’s longest range deployed ballistic missile is capable of a range of 2500 km, carrying a single nuclear warhead of ~1000 kg. In stark contrast, China’s nuclear delivery system is far more capable with multiple warhead (MIRV) ICBMs like DF-5A [12000+ km] and DF-4 [7500+ km]. It also fields submarine launched SLBMs like JL-2 [8500+ km] and strategic fighter bombers like Su-27 Flanker in its nuclear delivery arsenal. Economic theory teaches us that incentives drive decision making by a nation or an individual.

In case of India, a democracy with no serious military adversary, its militarisation drive is often overshadowed by internal militancy issues and political struggles. In case of a communist China, it has a powerful military adversary in United States; the conflicts over Taiwan give China a strong incentive to beef up its military defence to counter the US military might. The situation is much similar to that of USSR vs USA Cold War, albeit on a much smaller scale. The end result is China walking far ahead of India in military might with overpowering superiority if both conventional and nuclear forces are taken into account.