Pakistan vs India: A Military Power Contrast Among Stubborn Adversaries

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A Comparison of Military Strength: India and Pakistan

Official reports on Global Firepower Index reveal India as the fourth-largest military power sitting just behind the powerhouses – United States, Russia and China. This analysis is based on the definitive potential of a country for conventional warfare. On the same index, Pakistan, which has been in territorial disputes with India since independence, is however positioned at number nine.

This data content comes from a study by Reader Wall and is based on statistics from a combination of 60+ defining factors like GDP, population, manpower, purchasing capacity and military strength.

Population and GDP

India, featuring as the second most populous country on the globe, houses a population about six times more than Pakistan, which is ranked fifth in terms of population. India prides over 65 million people readily available for service at military age, thus outperforming Pakistan which has over 10 million. India’s Defence Budget for 2023-24 allocated 13% (5.94 trillion Rupees or roughly $73.8 Billion) of its Union Budget to defence. By contrast, Pakistan had a defence budget of just over $6.34 Billion.

Military Strength

India possesses 800,000 more serving military personnel than Pakistan with 1.4 million officers and soldiers serving across various rankings. In contrast, Pakistan has an active personnel strength of 650,000 individuals. However, these figures do not reflect the reserve and Paramilitary forces which would take India’s total count over 5 million.

Air Force

India ranks globally at number four with 2296 aircraft which are a combined total of both Air Force and Navy fighter aircraft, helicopters, transport aircraft, and other fixed and rotor-wing aircraft. Pakistan, however, has 1434 aircraft in total. Though India currently has 606 operational fighter jets in 31 squadrons and anticipates inducting more aircraft like the Tejas Mk1 and Mk1A in the years ahead, it would also be phasing out ageing jets like the MiG-21Bison, Sepecat Jaguars, and MiG-29s in the next 4-5 years. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s fleet of 387 fighter jets includes aircraft from China, France and America.


India has a marked edge over Pakistan in terms of tank strength as well, with a total of 4,614 against Pakistan’s 3,742. With India possessing 151,248 armoured vehicles – three times more than Pakistan, these vehicles play a crucial role in swift deployment of infantry to the battlefield, thus providing not just firepower, but also speed for operation efficiency. Surprisingly, Pakistan possesses more self-propelled artillery systems than India, creating a notable difference of 612 units between the two, although they have similar numbers of towed artillery guns.


India, with its long maritime border and significant economic and security interests in the Arabian Sea, Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, has a more robust and larger naval force compared to Pakistan. It features a total fleet strength of 294, compared to Pakistan’s 114. With two aircraft carriers – INS Vikramaditya and INS Vikrant, India is ranked as a Blue-water navy capable of operating globally. On the contrary, Pakistan, without an aircraft carrier and smaller naval strength, is classified as a ‘Green-water Navy’ operating only within its regional waters.

The comparison took into account several other factors like geography, maritime boundaries, purchasing power, foreign debt, road network infrastructure, oil and gas production and consumption among other things.


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