After witnessing two world wars in the past century, the third one doesn't seem far away. With the growing tensions in the South China Sea, the persisting unrest between Ukraine and Russia, and several small nations attempting to get their hands on nuclear weapons, it seems like it’s not a matter of “if,” but “when” the tragedy will strike.
With defense being among the major areas of expenditure in the budget of countries, several nations have been trying to maintain a robust military either for present or future demands.
Take a look at 10 countries that have the most powerful armies in the world.
#1. The US
The United States spends a staggering 3.3 percent of its GDP, which sums up to around USD 612 billion. The North American country boasts a fleet of 19 aircraft carriers, while the rest of the world combined has about a dozen. It also has an arsenal of 4018 nuclear warheads along with an additional 2800 that await dismantling.
(Image Courtesy: Army)
Though Russia has the third highest military budget in the world, its military might is only second to the US. It currently has 1790 active strategic nuclear warheads deployed, which is 40 more than what the US has. Russia also has 766,000 active military personnel, along with a reserve force of almost 2.5 million troops.
(Image Courtesy: Heralding the Rise of Russia)
China has quite aggressively expanded its defense budget in the past few years. While 2015 saw an increase of 11 percent in military expenditure from the previous year, the percentile estimated around 6-7 for 2016. Along with 300 nuclear weapons, it also has 2500 land vehicles, 2800 aircraft, and 2.3 million personnel in its force with the same number of reserved troops.
(Image Courtesy: Defense News)
With 1.32 million active military personnel, India has taken its defense strength to a total of 3.5 million. By increasing its defense budget by 13.1 percent in 2016 towards the aim of modernizing its defense mechanism, it became the fourth biggest spender on defense. India, which follows No First Use Policy regarding nuclear weapons, became a nuclear power almost 2 decades ago.
(Image Courtesy: Storypick)
#5. The UK
The UK, which plans on shrinking its armed forces by 20 percent, still has a powerful army, worthy of the fifth position on the list. With 160 nuclear weapons, 908 aircraft, and 70,000-ton aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, the biggest warship ever built for the Royal Navy, soon to be introduced to its fleet, its defense is as good as ever.
(Image Courtesy: The Independent)
Spending USD 43 billion, which is about 1.9 percent of its annual GDP, on defense, France has more than 9000 ground vehicles, 1000 aircraft, and 220,000 personnel in its force. It's crucial deployments in Chad, Mali, Central African Republic and several other places in the world, makes it the sixth most powerful army in the world.
(Image Courtesy: Sputnik International)
Though the conditions of the Germany’s armed forces have deteriorated in the past few years, it is still among the best in the world. It's 183,000 active frontline personnel, and 145,000 reserved ones have 710 aircraft and 5000 land vehicles to answer in any armed conflict with another nation.
(Image Courtesy: Pinterest)
Sharing borders with Syria and Iraq, the countries where the terrorist group ISIS has a stronghold, Turkey has a military budget of more than USD 18 billion. Its reserve and active troop strength stand at 660,000 with around 1000 air and 16000 land weapons ready to take down the enemy at any time.
(Image Courtesy: YouTube)
#9. South Korea
The continuous threat from its neighbor North Korea and increasing armament of China and Japan, have forced South Korea to increase its defense budget to more than USD 30 billion. It's 640,000 active soldiers are supported by 2.9 million reserved personnel. Its military strength can be estimated from its 1393 aircraft, 166 ships, and 15,000 land vehicles.
(Image Courtesy: CNN)
Owing to the growing disputes with neighbor China, Japan was urged to increase its military spending after 11 years, and now it has consistently grown its military budget for half a decade. Fairly well-equipped, it has 247,000 active and 57,900 reserved personnel, about 1,600 aircraft and 131 ships. A peace clause in its constitution restricts the country from creating an offensive army.
(Image Courtesy: The Tower)
You tell us which country you think should have made it to the list through the comment section below. We will be happy to hear from you!