Find the strongest: The world's 10 most powerful militaries

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Find the strongest: The worlds 10 most powerful militaries

The US stands first, followed by Russia, China and India.

By Curated by Anu Warrier

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Published: Tue 12 Jan 2016, 11:00 PM

Last updated: Wed 13 Jan 2016, 7:16 PM

Military power is unarguably the decisive factor in every nation's strength, especially in a time when the world is in turmoil. However, the real strength can be proved only in a war and fortunately, the world hasn't reached such a situation.
There are many factors that decide the military power, including number of military personnel, technical advance, aircraft carriers, aircraft, tanks, nuclear weapons, naval forces and geographical specialties.
Analysts find some countries with strong economy perform not as good as some developing countries in their military strength. And spending on defence is not always a factor while coming to the power.
Different analysts use various methodologies to assess the military strength and results may vary depending on that. However, most popular assessments are from Credit Suisse and Global Firepower. Both the agencies avoid nuclear capabilities in their assessment. Here are the major findings.
The United States

For years, the US has been the on the top place in military strength. American defence budget of over $600 billion overtakes the total all the other countries in the top 10 list, despite the recent reduction in its budget. Credit Suisse counts the number of aircraft carriers as a decisive factor, and the US is far ahead of any other countries in it, with 20 carriers.
Active frontline personnel - 1,40,000; Tanks - 8,848; Aircraft - 13,892; Aircraft carriers - 20; Submarines - 72

Russian defence spending is growing in contrary to many other developed nations, thanks to the return of the Cold War-like situation. Russia has the world's largest tank fleet, second largest aircraft fleet and is third in the submarine fleet.
Active frontline personnel - 766,055; Tanks - 15,398; Total aircraft: 3,429 Submarines: 55; Aircraft carrier: 1

China's strength is its manpower. It has the largest military in the world in terms of manpower. Another advantage China enjoys is that it is consistent in modernizing the army. More than that, China is in the second place in military budget with a spending of $216 billion.
Active frontline personnel: 2,333,000; Tanks: 9,150; Aircraft: 2,860; Submarines: 67; Aircraft carrier: 1

India is third in terms of active manpower and third in aircraft carriers. Considering the country is building its third aircraft carrier, India's growth is visible. In case of military spending, India is expected to reach the fourth place by 2020.
Active frontline personnel: 1,325,000 Tanks: 6,464 Aircraft: 1,905 Submarines: 15; Aircraft carriers: 2
United Kingdom

Global Firepower Index puts the UK in fifth place though the country's defence budget is almost $10 billion more than India's. The Royal Navy is likely to put another aircraft carrier into service by 2020.
Active frontline personnel: 146,980; Tanks: 407; Aircraft: 936; Submarines: 10; Aircraft carrier: 1

Continuous engagements and deployments make the relatively small French defence forces strong, along with its powerful and modernized equipment strength. Its annual defence budget is almost similar to the British defence budget.
Active frontline personnel: 202,761; Tanks: 423; Aircraft: 1,264; Submarines: 10; Aircraft carrier: 4
South Korea

With the sixth largest airforce in the world, South Korea is always on the edge with the conflicts with the rival North Korea. The fact that it doesn't have an aircraft carrier makes South Korea weaker but its naval strength stands higher than France and the UK. 
Active frontline personnel: 624,465; Tanks: 2,381; Aircraft: 1,412; Submarines: 13
Credit Suisse ranking puts Germany far below at 18th position, showing its weak naval fleet and its lack of an aircraft carrier. But the country's airpower is stronger and has advanced equipment. Military spending is too low considering the nation's economic status.
Active frontline personnel: 179,046; Tanks: 408; Aircraft: 663; Submarines: 4
Japan's relatively small military is well equipped and Credit Suisse ranking places it at fourth, above India. However, the four aircraft carriers Japan has are only equipped with helicopter fleets. Its naval fleet is stronger and comes fourth in the number of submarines it has.
Active frontline personnel: 247,173; Tanks: 678; Aircraft: 1,613; Submarines: 16

Turkey joins China and India in attempting to become a large scale military supplier through several high-profile ongoing development programmes. Turkey's large tank fleet and the number of aircraft and attack helicopters make the military strong.
Active frontline personnel: 410,500; Tanks: 3,778; Aircraft: 1,020; Submarines: 13
(Sources: Credit Suisse,, Image courtesy: CorbisImages)

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