These are the most powerful militaries in Asia

The arms trade is booming: The volume of international transfers of major weapons between 2013 and 2017 was 10% higher than between 2008 and 2012.

Countries in Asia have been major players in that trade. The continent was home to three of the top 10 arms exporters between 2013 and 2017 – and eight of the 10 top arms importers.

Arms sales indicate who is beefing up their armed forces, but head-to-head military comparisons are more complex. Global Firepower’s 2017 Military Strength Ranking takes up that task by drawing on more than 50 factors to assign a Power Index score to 133 countries.

The ranking assesses weapons held by each country and pays close attention to their manpower. The geography, logistical capacity, available natural resources, and the status of local industry are also taken into account.

Thirteen Asian countries are among the world’s 25 most powerful militaries, according to the Global Firepower ranking. Below, you can see the 10 strongest armed forces in the region:


10. Pakistan

Overall ranking: 17

Power Index rating: 0.3689

Total population: 204,924,861

Total military personnel: 919,000

Total aircraft: 1,281

Fighter aircraft: 320

Combat tanks: 2,182

Total naval assets: 197

Defence budget: $US7 billion


9. Israel

Lior Mizrahi/Stringer via Getty ImagesIsraeli Defence Forces practice drills in the Golan Heights near the border with Syria in March 2016.

Overall ranking: 16

Power Index rating: 0.3444

Total population: 8,299,706

Total military personnel: 615,000

Total aircraft strength: 596

Fighter aircraft: 252

Combat tanks: 2,760

Total naval assets: 65

Defence budget: $US20 billion


8. Indonesia

US Department of Defence

Overall ranking: 15

Power Index rating: 0.3266

Total population: 260,580,739

Total military personnel: 975,750

Total aircraft strength: 478

Fighter aircraft: 41

Combat tanks: 418

Total naval assets: 221

Defence budget: $US6.9 billion


7. Iran

Overall ranking: 13

Power Index rating: 0.3131

Total population: 82,021,564

Total military personnel: 934,000

Total aircraft strength: 505

Fighter aircraft: 150

Combat tanks: 1,650

Total naval assets: 398

Defence budget: $US6.3 billion


6. Turkey

Overall ranking: 9

Power Index rating: 0.2216

Total population: 80,845,215

Total military personnel: 710,565

Total aircraft strength: 1,056

Fighter aircraft: 207

Combat tanks: 2,446

Total naval assets: 194

Defence budget: $US10.2 billion


5. Japan

Overall ranking: 8

Power Index rating: 0.2107

Total population: 126,451,398

Total military personnel: 310,457

Total aircraft strength: 1,508

Fighter aircraft: 290

Combat tanks: 679

Total naval assets: 131

Defence budget: $US44 billion


4. South Korea

Overall ranking: 7

Power Index rating: 0.2001

Total population: 51,181,299

Total military personnel: 5,827,250

Total aircraft strength: 1,560

Fighter aircraft: 406

Combat tanks: 2,654

Total naval assets: 166

Defence budget: $US40 billion


3. India

Overall ranking: 4

Power Index rating: 0.1417

Total population: 1,281,935,911

Total military personnel: 4,207,250

Total aircraft strength: 2,185

Fighter aircraft: 590

Combat tanks: 4,426

Total naval assets: 295

Defence budget: $US47 billion


2. China

Overall ranking: 3

Power Index rating: 0.0852

Total population: 1,379,302,771

Total military personnel: 2,693,000

Total aircraft strength: 3,035

Fighter aircraft: 1,125

Combat tanks: 7,716

Total naval assets: 714

Defence budget: $US151 billion


1. Russia

Overall ranking: 2

Power Index rating: 0.084

Total population: 142,257,519

Total military personnel: 3,586,128

Total aircraft strength: 3,914

Fighter aircraft: 818

Combat tanks: 20,300

Total naval assets: 352

Defence budget: $US47 billion

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