India vs Pakistan Military: Comparison, Who is More Powerful?

India and Pakistan are two arch-rivals in the Indian subcontinent. The two countries share a long border and have a land dispute in Jammu and Kashmir. Not only this, India and Pakistan have seen communal conflicts that also shape their relations. India is a Hindu-majority state, whereas, Pakistan is a Muslim-majority state. All these factors together give rise to tension in the bilateral relations between the two countries. Indian army and Pakistan army have fought multiple wars in past, and ceasefire violations are common even today. Now, that these two countries have become nuclear powers, any small-scale war has the potential to escalate into a full-fledged nuclear war given the internal instability in Pakistan. In this light, India vs Pakistan military comparison is often made by defence experts. However, India clearly outperforms Pakistan as it has a more sophisticated army and advanced weapons to deal with any hostile situation. Pakistan on the other hand lack both economic and military power to withstand any assault from India. Here we take a look at the military strength of India and Pakistan and how their conflicts have overshadowed any cooperation between the two countries.

India vs Pakistan: Who is more powerful?

As per the 2023 Global Fire Power Index, India has the fourth-best military strength in the world. It is behind only USA, Russia and China. Whereas, Pakistan is ranked 7th in the Power Index of GFP annual ranking. India thus is in a much better place in terms of overall military strength compared to Pakistan. Let’s now check the various determinants of military strength and compare these two countries. 

PwrIndex (o.oo being optimal)0.10250.1694
Active personnel 1.45 million6.54 Lakh
Defence budget$75 billion $11 billion
Total aircraft2,2101,413
Fighter aircraft577363
Tank strength4,6143,742
Naval fleet295114
Aircraft carriers20
India vs Pakistan Comparision

India vs Pakistan Military

As of 2023, India has the second-largest active army in the world. Over 1.4 million personnel are currently active in the Indian army. Additionally, 1.1 million reserve personnel are in the Indian army. In comparison, Pakistan has around 6.5 Lakh active personnel and a reserve strength of 5.5 Lakh personnel. India also has 2.5 million paramilitary strength, whereas, Pakistan’s paramilitary forces have only 5 lakh people.

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India and Pakistan Defence Budget Comparison

With around $73.8 billion, India’s defence budget is the third largest globally. It is only behind the United States and China. However, a big portion of the defence budget is spent on personnel and pension. India is also one of the largest importers of weapons. Compare this with Pakistan whose defence budget is around $11.8 billion. Pakistan is also an importer of weapons. Also, the defence administration in Pakistan is marred by corruption and mismanagement. As a result, the actual expenditure on defence is quite low.

India and Pakistan Air Power Comparison 

In terms of air power, India is much ahead of Pakistan. It has around 2,210 aircraft as of 2023. However, these aircraft are still not sufficient to meet its requirement given the hostility from China and Pakistan. India also has around 577 fighter aircraft which include the Russian-made Sukhoi, MIG 29, MIG27, France-made Rafael, indigenously built Tejas and some others. 

In comparison, Pakistan has around 1400 aircraft, 363 fighter aircraft, and 59 transport aircraft. Most of Pakistan’s aircraft are imported from China and USA. The domestic aircraft industry is at a very nascent stage. Recently, Pakistan and China have built a JF 17 aircraft. It is the first aircraft made by Pakistan in collaboration with China. Pakistan has US-made F16 aircraft and Mirage III as the other notable aircraft.

Naval strength

When it comes to competition over the sea, India is much stronger than Pakistan. It has a coastline of over 7,000 km and its position is quite strategic in the Indian Ocean due to which it is considered the only major naval power in the Indian Ocean. India’s naval fleet strength is around 295. And, it has two aircraft carriers – INS Vikrant and INS Vikramaditya. INS Vikrant was built domestically and it shows India’s ability to build naval aircraft carriers. It also gives India a clear edge in the Indian Ocean because none of the other South Asian countries has aircraft carriers.

India also has two nuclear submarines – INS Arihant and INS Arighat. Additionally, two more nuclear-powered submarines are being built. India also has 16 conventional submarines that help it in protecting naval boundaries. Indian Navy also has destroyers, frigates, and patrol vessels. 

Compare this with Pakitan which has a coastline of around 1,100 km and is close to Gulf countries.  The fleet strength of Pakistan is 114, less than half of India’s fleet strength. It has no aircraft carrier which is a major weak point. Even submarines are half of India’s total submarine strength. Pakistan has only two destroyers, 48 patrol vessels, and 6 frigates. 


Given the current strength of these two countries, India clearly wins in the event of an Indo-Pak war. India is not strong not just in its military, air and naval segments, but it also has a robust economy that can withstand war and provide sustained support. Pakistan has fought some wars in past and every time it has got defeated. In 1971, India liberated Bangladesh after Pakistan surrendered. In today’s scenario, Pakistan is economically crumbling,  and its domestic conditions are not showing any sign of revival. Corruption is rampant not just in general civil administration but also in its army. As a result, Pakistan is on the verge of getting bankrupt and thus has no chance of competing against India.