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Global firepower: China's military might is LIMITLESS

Last updated on: November 4, 2011 11:06 IST

Global firepower: China's military might is LIMITLESS

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With China's military might now at 2.3 million (approximately 23 lakh) active personnel, it has reached the status of the largest army in the world, according to Business Insider.

This is despite the fact that China has not been involved in any serious battles since the early 1980s when it faced off in a brief skirmish with Vietnam.

America has far more ships and warplanes worldwide, but in just under 20 years, China has created the largest force of submarines and amphibious warfare ships in Asia.

In comparison:
United States: 30 lakh personnel
India: 13 lakh personnel

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Image: Soldiers from Chinese People's Liberation Army, Navy Marine Crops, Air Force Aviation and Airborne Corps (from top to bottom) stand at attention during a training session at the 60th National Day Parade Village on the outskirts of Beijing.
Photographs: Joe Chan/Reuters
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According to Business Insider, China says it spent $98.8 billion (Rs 4.80 lakh crore) on its military in 2009, although analysts estimate spending may be more than three times that amount.

In comparison:

United States: $663 billion (Rs 32,22,180 crore)

India:  $36 billion ( Rs 1,74,960 crore)

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Image: Soldiers of the PLA Hong Kong Garrison perform during a ceremony to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Hong Kong's handover to China, in Hong Kong
Photographs: Alvin Chan/Reuters
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Global firepower: China's military might is LIMITLESS

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China's Air Force: 470,000 personnel, 2,556 jet fighters, 400 ground attack jets.

In comparison:

United States: 329,638 active personnel, 2,132 fighters

India: 170,000 active personnel, 1,440 aircraft (approximate figures)

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Image: Chinese air force soldiers arm a plane during an exercise at a military base in Jinan.
Photographs: Reuters
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Global firepower: China's military might is LIMITLESS

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China's Naval Force: 250,000 personnel, 66 submarines, 27 destroyers, 52 frigates.

In comparison:

United States:
Aircraft carriers: 11
Dock landing ships: 12
Cruisers: 22
Destroyers: 60
Frigates: 27
Submarines: 75

India:
Total Navy Ships: 175
Aircraft Carriers: 1
Destroyers: 8
Submarines: 15
Frigates: 12

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Image: Helicopters accompany the Chinese Jiangwei II naval frigate Mianyang during an international fleet review to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Liberation Army Navy in Qingdao, Shandong
Photographs: Guang Niu/Reuters
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Global firepower: China's military might is LIMITLESS

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China's Strategic Missile Force: 100,000 personnel, 140 nuclear missiles, 1,000 conventional theater missiles.

In comparison:

United States: 5,200 (approximate figures)

India: 80-100 (approximate figures)

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Image: A PLA soldier is seen in front of a rocket launcher during a massive parade to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in Beijing
Photographs: Nir Elias/Reuters
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Global firepower: China's military might is LIMITLESS

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China's ground force: 1.9 million (19 lakh) personnel, 14,000 tanks, 14,500 artillery units, 453 helicopters.

In comparison:

United States:
Tanks: 9,573
Helicopters: 6,417

India:
Tanks: 5,000
Helicopters: 848

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Image: A soldier practices shooting during a training session at a military base in north China
Photographs: Ge Gong/Reuters
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Little is known about China's cyber-warfare programmes that may give it an edge.

China recently announced the existence of the Blue Army, a government-sponsored cyber warfare unit similar to those launched by the US, the United Kingdom, Australia and Israel.

The unit, which was officially formed two years ago but has existed in some form for a decade, claims to exist for defensive reasons only.


Image: A satellite dish is silhouetted by the setting sun in Beijing.
Photographs: Reuters
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