The US still has the biggest military budget at $732 billion, which is 10 times what India spends on its defence forces ($71.1 billion). China has a military budget of $261 billion.
According to the study, a large part of the US military budget goes towards international commitments and operations. It doesn’t cover aspects of defence expenditure like pensions and medical expenses for retired soldiers, maintenance of nuclear weapons and intelligence gathering. If these are included, the US defence budget would be over $1 trillion, it said.
India with a military spend of $71 billion, has the fourth largest military budget in the world, according to the index.
Naval Growth Boosts China Ranking
The study said that China’s military superiority was boosted by the growth of its naval strength.
According to a US Department of Defence report from last year, China has the world’s largest navy presently. Curiously, the study doesn’t count aircraft and helicopter carriers in naval strength, where the US has an overwhelming superiority. India has the fourth largest navy, as per the study.
When it comes to airpower, the study found that the US has more aircraft in its fleet than the combined strength of Russia, China and India.
Russia tops the list for the military with the highest number of tanks, artillery and other land units. US is a close second, and China was ranked third. India was ranked sixth.
The study measured the total number of personnel in a nation’s military but also looked at the proportion of active personnel. China had the highest with 2.1 million active personnel. US and India both have 1.4 million.
The index also measured unconventional parameters like the average starting salaries for personnel. It found that there remains a wide chasm between the average starting salary of the lowest ranked soldier and the lowest ranked officer. The study said India has the second-lowest salary among the 12 nations for its entry-level soldiers and lowest-ranked officers.
The study also measured the weight of the gear that soldiers carry and found that a Russian soldier carries the near equivalent of an adult (70 kg). This was nearly twice the amount of weight an Indian or Chinese soldier carries (40 kg).
Despite the unlikeliness of a nation deploying a nuclear weapon against another, the study took into account how many warheads the nations are believed to possess. Russia topped the list with 6,375 warheads, followed by the US with 5,800 warheads. China is next with 320 nukes.