New Delhi | Aalok Sensharma: In 2017, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat, who was also the Army chief back then, had said that India is prepared for a “two-and-a-half front war”. By this, General Rawat meant that India can simultaneously take on Pakistan and China and at the same time, handle the internal security issues of Jammu and Kashmir as well. Nearly three years after General Rawat’s statement, it looks like the country is actually facing a two-and-a-half front war situation as tensions between India and China have escalated over the last few months and New Delhi’s tussle with Islamabad over Jammu and Kashmir continues.   

As the Narendra Modi government came to power, India changed its external policy from ‘Defence’ to ‘Defensive-Offensive’. From the surgical strike of 2016 to the air strike in Balakot and the digital strike on China after the violent Galwan Valley clash, the Modi government has left no stone unturned, showing its immense will to defend Indian territories. However, one might wonder whether India will still be able to handle a threat from Pakistan and China while handling the internal security issues of Jammu and Kashmir as well.

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The answer is not a straightforward yes or no. Fighting a war and whether a country would be able to win it or not depends upon the tactical situation, the external support one is getting and the risks one is willing to take on. One also needs to compare the military strength of India with that of China and Pakistan. Here is a glimpse at the military might of India, China and Pakistan.

India and China

India and China are often considered as the rising giants of the world. The two Asian countries share a 3,488 km border with each other. The relationship, however, between the two nations has always been a bit dicey. One obvious reason is China’s continuous support to Pakistan over Jammu and Kashmir. The two Asian giants fought a war in 1962 over their competing territorial claim. While India suffered heavy losses in the war, five years later, the country gave a bloody nose to China in the Cho La and Nathu La clashes, helping the country regain the key border areas.

Here’s how the two countries fare when compared head-to-head:

India has a defence budget of USD 65.86 billion while China spends USD 261 billion on its Armed Forces every year, according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). If one compares the nuclear warheads of the two countries, India has over 150 nuclear weapons while China has more than 320 nuclear warheads in its arsenal, SIPRI reported in 2020. Comparing the manpower of the two countries’ Armed Forces, India has 14,44,000 active personnel (Army, Navy and Air Force) and 21,00,000 reserved personnel while China has 21,83,000 active personnel (Army, Navy and Air Force) and a bench strength of 5,10,000, according to independent military data tracker Global Firepower

Army:

According to Global Firepower, India has 4,292 tanks, 8,686 armoured vehicles, 235 self-propelled artilleries and 4,060 field artilleries. On the other hand, China has 3,500 tanks, 33,000 armoured vehicles, 3,800 self-propelled artilleries and 3,600 field artilleries.  

Air Power:

India has 538 fighter aircrafts while China has 1,232. India has 722 helicopters, excluding 23 attack helicopters (helos), while China possesses 911 helicopters and 281 helos. Looking at the current strength, China seems to be at an advantageous position. Experts however, don’t agree with that as they believe that the Su-30 MKIs and the Rafales, along with Mirage-2000s, will give India an edge over China which largely depends on J10, J11 and Su-27 fighter jets.

“If Chinese equipment was so good, then why did the Pakistanis only use F-16 aircraft to attack Nangi Tekri brigade in Rajouri sector on February 27, 2019 with Chinese JF-17 merely giving air defence cover to Mirage 3/5 bombers. The Mirage 3/5 dropped the H 2/4 bombs from a safe distance with the JF 17 in a supportive role providing Air Defence to these aircrafts! Why does Pakistan use Swedish early air warning platforms up north and keep Chinese AWACS in the south? Why is Pakistan mounting European radar (Selex Gallelio) and Turkish targeting pod on Chinese JF-17? The answer is quite evident,” former Air Force chief ACM BS Dhanoa had said while speaking to Hindustan Times.

Naval Power:

India has one aircraft carrier and 74 submarines while China has two aircraft carriers and 16 submarines. In terms of destroyers, India and China have 10 and 36 destroyers respectively. India has 13 frigates while China has 52, according to Global Firepower.

 

India

China

Army

Tanks and armoured vehicles

13,078

36,500

Artilleries (Field + self-propelled)

4,295

7,400

Air Force

Aircrafts

538

1,232

Helicopters

722

911

Navy

Aircraft carrier

1

2

Submarines

16

74

Destroyers

10

36

(Source: Global Firepower)

India and Pakistan

India and Pakistan have fought three full-fledged wars – 1947, 1965 and 1971 – since independence. However, despite losing all three wars, Pakistan has enhanced its capabilities over the years and it might not be as easy for India to take on Pakistan in another war. According to SIPRI, Pakistan has around 160 nuclear warheads while India has 150+ nuclear weapons. India has a defence budget of USD 65.86 billion while Pakistan spends USD 7.77 billion on its Armed Forces every year, according to a South-Asia journal report.

In terms of manpower, India has 14,44,000 active personnel (Army, Navy and Air Force) and 21,00,000 reserved personnel while Pakistan has 6,54,000 active personnel (Army, Navy and Air Force) and a reserved personnel strength of 5,50,000, says Global Firepower.   

Army:      

Global Firepower says that India has 4,292 tanks and 8,686 armoured vehicles while Pakistan has 2,200 tanks and 7,330 armoured vehicles. India has 235 self-propelled artilleries while Pakistan has 429. India has 4,060 field artilleries while China has 1,226.

Air Power:  

India has 538 fighter aircrafts while Pakistan has 356. India has 722 helicopters and 23 attack helicopters (helos) while Pakistan has 346 helicopters and 56 helos, says Global Firepower.

Naval Power:

India has one aircraft carrier while Pakistan has none. Pakistan has 8 submarines while India has 16. In terms of destroyers, India and Pakistan have 10 and 0 destroyers respectively. India has 13 frigates while Pakistan has 9, according to Global Firepower.

 

India

Pakistan

Army

Tanks and armoured vehicles

13,078

9,530

Artilleries (Field + self-propelled)

4,295

1,655

Air Force

Aircrafts

538

356

Helicopters

722

346

Navy

Aircraft carrier

1

0

Submarines

16

8

Destroyers

10

0

(Source: Global Firepower)

(Disclaimer: This article has been written by Aalok Sensharma, Junior Content Writer, English Jagran)

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma