India vs China defense budget and equipment comparison

India vs China defense budget and equipment comparison
Representational image.IANS
  • India is currently embroiled in a border dispute with China in the Galwan valley region.
  • India has a defense budget of $71.1 billion and China’s defense outlay of $261 billion.
  • In this post, we compare the defense budget and equipment of the two nuclear-armed countries.
India is currently embroiled in a border dispute with China after forces from the two countries clashed in the Galwan Valley region earlier this month. The clashes resulted in the death of 20 Indian soldiers. China has not revealed the number of casualties on its side.

The clashes have led to increased tensions between the two countries and there have been reports that the countries have started to amass tanks and other equipment in the border areas.

The Indian government has also expedited an order for twenty-one MiG 29 and twelve Su 30 MKI fighter jets from Russia

Let’s look at how the defense budget and equipment of the two countries fares against other:

Defense budget


Defense budget$71.1 billion$261 billion
Source: SIPRI

As per a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India has the third biggest defense budget at $71.1 billion. However, China’s defense budget is more than three times that of India at $261 billion.

Nuclear warheads

Nuclear warheads150320
Source: SIPRI

India currently has a stockpile of 150 nuclear warheads and China’s stockpile is more than double at 320 warheads.


Active personnel14,44,00021,83,000
Reserve personnel21,00,0005,10,000
Source: Global Firepower

India’s active personnel include 14,40,000 personnel, which is lower than China’s 21,83,000 personnel. However, India has a much better bench strength with 21,00,000 reserve personnel compared to China’s 5,10,000 reserve personnel.


Armored vehicles8,68633,000
Self-propelled artillery2353,800
Field artillery4,0603,600
Rocket projectors2662,650
Source: Global Firepower

With 4,292 tanks, India is ahead of China which has just 3,500 tanks.

Apart from this, India has 235 self-propelled artillery, 4,060 field artillery and 266 rocket projectors. On the other hand, China has 3,800 self-propelled artillery, 3,600 field artillery and 2,650 rocket projectors.

Air power

Combat aircraft5381,232
Dedicated attack aircrafts172371
Special mission planes77111
Source: Global Firepower

India has a total of 2,123 total aircrafts including 538 combat aircraft, 172 dedicated attack aircrafts, 77 special mission planes, 722 helicopters and 23 attack helos.

On the other hand, China has a total of 3,210 aircrafts including 1,232 combat aircraft, 371 dedicated attack aircrafts, 111 special mission planes, 911 helicopters and 281 attack helos.

Naval power

Aircraft carriers12
Mine warfare329
Coastal patrol139220
Source: Global Firepower

India has a fleet strength of 285 including 1 aircraft carrier, 16 submarines, 10 destroyers, 13 frigates, 19 corvettes, 3 mine warfare ships and 139 coastal patrol ships.

China has a fleet strength of 777 with 2 aircraft carriers, 74 submarines, 36 destroyers, 52 frigates, 50 corvettes, 29 mine warfare ships and 220 coastal patrol ships.


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