India Armed Forces V/s Pakistan Armed Forces – How Do They Stack Up?

After the statement issued about the surgical strikes carried out by the Indian army across the Line of Control and into Pakistan controlled territory, there have been a few consequences: Those on the Indian side baying for Pakistani blood following Uri have felt avenged; their bloodlust assuaged at least partly. Secondly and predictably, the Pakistani reaction has been to deny that any such strikes had taken place at all (how can Pak acknowledge the destruction of terror camps that it denies the existence of); only cease fire violations have been acknowledged. Thirdly, there is the spectre of the diplomatic sabre rattling possibly escalating into outright war. So how do India and Pakistan stack up?


India's population is 1,2 billion v/s Pakistan’s 182 million. Given this, the available manpower and those reaching military age each year is significantly higher in India. Currently there are over 13 lakh active military personnel and 21 lakh active military reserves in India. In Pakistan there are over 6 lakh active military personnel and more than 5 lakh active military reserves. India is ranked at No. 4 and Pakistan at No. 13 worldwide in terms of military capability.

Land systems

Currently India has more than 6400 tanks, 290 self propelled guns, and nearly 300 multiple launch rocket systems. Pakistan has nearly 3000 tanks, 465 self propelled guns, and 134 multiple launch rocket systems.

Air power

India has 346 serviceable airports whereas Pakistan has 151. India has 679 fighter aircraft, 318 trainer aircraft, 646 choppers and 857 transport air craft. In most cases the Pakistani air power capabilities are less than half that of India, except that it has more attack helicopters (52) than India (19).

Naval power

While India has 7 major ports/terminals, Pakistan has 2. India has 2 air craft carriers, 14 frigates, 14 submarines, 135 coastal defence craft, 10 destroyers and 26 corvettes. Pakistan no air craft carriers, 10 frigates, 5 submarines, 12 coastal defence craft, no destroyers and no corvettes.

Nuclear power

Here Pakistan is thought to have a slight edge and may have 120 nuclear warheads as against 110 that India possesses according to sources. However, considering that just one nuclear warhead with a yield of 1 megaton can destroy about 210 sq km or 3 times the area of South Mumbai, ten more or less of these deadly weapons is breathtakingly inconsequential.

The conjecture needs to remain….

….only conjecture. In any war, we will still lose our own. To put this into perspective, if 100 nuclear warheads were used by both sides combined, about 21 million people would die immediately, the world would suffer a nuclear winter, half the ozone layer would be destroyed and there would be many other unimaginably horrific consequences.

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