Largest Militaries in Asia
This dataset contains 28 entries. Scroll for more content  

  Overview

As a region, Asia has the largest concentration of military forces, with seven countries (North Korea, South Korea, Vietnam, India, China, Taiwan, Indonesia) crossing the million mark in the total military sizes, with Pakistan nearing almost a million military personnel.

Which country has the largest military force in Asia?
The country with the largest military force in Asia is North Korea with a force strength of 7,769,000 personnel. At second and third, are South Korea with a 6,712,500-strong military and Vietnam with a military force of 5,522,000 personnel.
In comparison, the average size of the military forces in Asia is around 1,358,320.7 military personnel.

 Compare North Korea with Nepal


  Data Table

Preparing data

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DEFENSE SPENDING

Defense Budget. China has the highest military budget in Asia at US$261,082M . Average size of defense budgets among countries in Asia stand at US$23,293.6M.

Percentage of GDP on Defense. In Asia, Pakistan and Azerbaijan spend the highest percentage of their GDP on defence at 4%. On average, countries in Asia spend %1.9 of their GDPs on defense.


FORCE STRUCTURE

Active Forces. China has the largest active military in Asia, with 2,185,000 personnel. Average size of active military forces among countries in Asia stand at 339,018.9 personnel.

Reserve Forces. South Korea has the largest reserve military in Asia, with 3,100,000 personnel. On average, countries in Asia maintain a reserve strength of 349,867.9 personnel.

Paramilitary Forces. North Korea has the largest paramilitary force in Asia, with 5,889,000 personnel. The average paramilitary force size in Asia is 669,433.9 personnel.

Total Military Force Per Capita. North Korea has the highest total military per capita at 306.1 per 1000 in population - the highest in Asia. The average total military force per capita for countries in Asia is around 32.8 per 1000 in population.


BATTLE EQUIPMENT

Naval Fleet. China has the largest naval fleet in Asia, with 270 vessels. Average size of naval fleet among countries in Asia stand at 26.4 vessels.

Submarines. North Korea has the most submarines in Asia at 70 subs. Average size of submarine fleet among countries in Asia stand at 8.0 subs.

Air Force. China has the largest air force at 2,615 planes in Asia. Average size of air force among countries in Asia stand at 259.9 planes.

Battle Tanks. North Korea has most number of battle tanks in Asia at 10,375 tanks. Average number of tanks among countries in Asia stand at 1,378.3 tanks.


These are the countries in Asia with the largest military forces:

North Korea.

North Korea's military among world's largest (credit: Youtube/CNN)

North Korea has the largest military force in the world. North Korea has a military that is composed of 1,280,000 active personnel (third-largest in Asia), 600,000 in reserve and 5,889,000 from paramilitary forces, totalling 7,769,000 or 306.1 military personnel per 1000 in population. Its per-capita military is the highest in the world.

North Korea's battle tank force is the second-largest in the world. On land, North Korea has a mobile force of 10,375 tanks. For aerial defence, North Korea has an air force of 576 military aircrafts and 100 attack helicopters.

North Korea's naval fleet is the third-largest in Asia. North Korea has a naval fleet of 73 vessels, including 70 non-nuclear submarines.

 

 Compare North Korea with Malaysia

 Compare North Korea with Japan


South Korea.

South Korea shows off military hardware in Armed Forces Day ceremony... with one eye on North Korea (ARIRANG NEWS)

The defence budget of South Korea is estimated at US$43,891M at around 2.70% of its GDP.

South Korea has the second-largest military force in the world. With a 6,712,500-strong military, South Korea has a per-capita ratio of 130.5 military personnel per 1000 in population. Its total military consists of 599,000 active personnel, 3,100,000 reserve personnel and 3,013,500 from paramilitary forces. Its per-capita military is the second-highest in the world.

On land, South Korea has a mobile force of 2,514 tanks. For aerial defence, South Korea has an air force of 587 military aircrafts and 273 attack helicopters.

South Korea's naval fleet is the second-largest in Asia. South Korea has a naval fleet of 86 vessels, including 23 non-nuclear submarines. The naval fleet also possesses numerous warships, including 14 frigates, 12 destroyers and 36 corvettes.

 

 Compare South Korea with Turkmenistan

 Compare South Korea with Azerbaijan


Vietnam.

Vietnam Armed forces 2020 (Credit: Manconst Channel)

Vietnam's military force is the third-largest in the world. Vietnam has a military that is composed of 482,000 active personnel and 5,040,000 from paramilitary forces, totalling 5,522,000 or 108.4 military personnel per 1000 in population. Its per-capita military is the third-highest in Asia.

On land, Vietnam has a mobile force of 1,800 tanks. For aerial defence, Vietnam has an air force of 97 military aircrafts and 47 attack helicopters.

Vietnam has a naval fleet of 14 vessels, including 6 non-nuclear submarines. The naval fleet also possesses numerous warships, including 2 frigates and 6 corvettes.

 

 Compare Vietnam with Tajikistan

 Compare Vietnam with Malaysia


India.

India's Military Might On Display At Grand Republic Day Parade (Credit: Youtube/NDTV)

India has the third-highest defence budget in the world. India allocates about 2.40% of its GDP (estimated at US$71,125M) for its defence budget.

With a 5,137,500-strong military, India has a per-capita ratio of 4 military personnel per 1000 in population. Its total military consists of 1,455,550 active personnel (second-largest globally), 1,155,000 reserve personnel and 2,526,950 from paramilitary forces.

India has the third-largest battle tank force in Asia. On land, India has a mobile force of 6,464 tanks. For aerial defence, India has an air force of 544 military aircrafts and 23 attack helicopters.

India has a naval fleet of 69 vessels, including 1 aircraft carriers, 2 nuclear submarines and 14 non-nuclear submarines. Rounding up the fleet of warships are 14 frigates, 11 destroyers and 26 corvettes.

 

 Compare India with Uzbekistan

 Compare India with Malaysia


China.

How is China strengthening its military? (Credit: Youtube/CGTN)

The country with the second-highest defence budget in the world is China. China's defence expenditure is estimated to be US$261,082M (1.90% of its GDP).

With a 4,015,000-strong military, China has a per-capita ratio of 2.9 military personnel per 1000 in population. Its total military consists of 2,185,000 active personnel (largest in the world), 1,170,000 reserve personnel and 660,000 from paramilitary forces.

China has the third-largest battle tank force in the world. On land, China has a mobile force of 9,000 tanks. For aerial defence, China has an air force of 2,615 military aircrafts and 450 attack helicopters.

China has the largest naval fleet in the world. China has a naval fleet of 270 vessels, including 2 aircraft carriers, 14 nuclear submarines and 55 non-nuclear submarines. The naval fleet of warships also include 52 frigates, 36 destroyers and 42 corvettes.

 

 Compare China with Laos

 Compare China with Azerbaijan


Taiwan.

Could China Take Taiwan By Force? (Credit: Youtube/CNA Insider)

Taiwan's defence expenditure is estimated to be US$10,420M (1.70% of its GDP).

With a 1,831,800-strong military, Taiwan has a per-capita ratio of 77.8 military personnel per 1000 in population. Its total military consists of 163,000 active personnel, 1,657,000 reserve personnel and 11,800 from paramilitary forces.

On land, Taiwan has a mobile force of 566 tanks. For aerial defence, Taiwan has an air force of 485 military aircrafts and 154 attack helicopters.

Taiwan has a naval fleet of 31 vessels, including 4 non-nuclear submarines. The naval fleet of warships also include 22 frigates and 4 destroyers.

 

 Compare Taiwan with Nepal

 Compare Taiwan with India


Check out these military rankings by region and force type:

Gap Analysis  - Ukraine vs Russia | NATO vs Russia

Largest Militaries Worldwide  - by total force | by active force | by force per capita

Largest Militaries (region) - Asia | N. Asia | Europe | Africa | Middle East | N. America | S. America

NATO Nations - Defense Spending | Air Force | Military | Tanks | Navy | Submarines

G20 Nations - Defense Spending | Air Force | Military | Tanks | Navy | Submarines | Nuclear

ASEAN Nations - Defense Spending | Air Force | Military | Tanks | Navy

Northeast Asia Nations - Defense Spending | Air Force | Military | Tanks | Navy | Submarines

Gap Analysis - NATO & Russia | Ukraine & Russia | China & Taiwan

Highest Military Budgets - World | Asia | N. Asia | Europe | Africa | Middle East | N. America | S. America

Largest Navy - World | Asia | N. Asia | Europe | S. America

Most Submarines - World | Asia | N. Asia | Europe | S. America

Largest Air Force - World | Africa | Asia | N. Asia | Europe | Middle East | N. America | S. America

Most Battle Tanks - World | Africa | Asia | N. Asia | Europe | Middle East


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