Largest Armies In The World 2021: Global Firepower

War gives prestige to a nation, war is sometimes necessary to keep surviving, who has the largest armies in the world? According to Global Firepower, you will get to know the largest military forces in the world.

What is the largest military in the world? What is the largest military base in the world? Do you care to know which country has the largest army in the world? Then follow me up on this post as I will list and explain extensively the countries with the largest military base in the world and the countries with the largest armies in the world.

Calculating a country’s military might can be very difficult (the secret is the soul of the business) but there is one factor that can be counted: the number of soldiers. Even with the best resources in the world, an army needs people.

Annually, the Global Fire Power (GFP) ranking rate every countries’ military capacities in the globe and also assign a Power Index Number (PIN) based on these following listed criteria:

  1. The number of serving military members.
  2. Fuel availability for military operations. 
  3. The number of jet fighters. 
  4. The defence budget. 
  5. Logistics flexibility.  
  6. Largest military budgets in the world.

Before we proceed to the listing of the strongest military in the world, I will like to give you a simple definition of War and also we check on the reasons for war, the reason for civil war, reasons for world war and so on all packed under the reasons for fighting wars.

Definition of War

What is the meaning of war? War is a conflict, usually armed, in which two or more parties are involved. It applies to an armed struggle or confrontation between countries or groups of people. 

War is the most serious social and political conflict between two or more communities.

When we speak of war, we generally refer to an armed conflict between two relatively massive human groups, using all kinds of strategies and technologies, in order to violently impose themselves on the other, either killing him or simply defeating him. It is the most serious form of social and political conflict that can exist between two or more human communities.

Much has been said about war, which seems to have been part of human relations (especially international) since the beginning of civilization. Now let us check the reasons for war.

Reasons For Fighting Wars

This can also be called the causes of war as there must be a reason to shed blood or to seize the freedom of others, be it civil wars, world war and any form of war, below are the reasons for wars;

  • Prestige
  • Economic Gains
  • Religious differences
  • Revenge
  • Colonization
  • Defence etc.

Now that you know the meaning of war and the causes of war (reasons for war), let us now examine each of the strongest armies in the world because a country’s military might is determined by what each of the countries has to attack or defend. 

The Largest Armies in The World 2021

Here we will list and elaborate on each of the countries that have the largest armies in the world likewise stating each countries military budgets, who has the largest armies in the world and position of each among the most powerful armies.

According to Global Firepower, these are the armies with the most people in the world ranked according to the number of active soldiers:

1. China – 2,183,000 active soldiers

China - People's Libration Army
China has the largest armies in the world.
  • Reserve Soldiers: 510,000
  • Population suitable for service: 621,105,706
  • Annual military budget: $ 224,000,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 3rd place

As the country with the most people in the world, it is natural that China has the largest army in the world and as you can see China has the largest military budgets in the world which is around $ 224,000,000,000 annually.

But China does not only have many standing soldiers. The country has huge reserved soldiers and military budget and is also betting more and more on the development of advanced weapons.

According to experts, in a few years, China could threaten the military primacy of Russia and even the United States of America which could possibly make them the world power, though military might isn’t about the number of soldiers or annual budgets alone!

2. India – 1,362,500 active soldiers

Indian Armed Forces - One of the largest armies in the world
Indian Armed Forces is the 2nd largest military force in the world
  • Reserve Soldiers: 2,100,000
  • Population suitable for service: 494,249,390
  • Annual military budget: $ 55,200,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 4th place

According to Global Firepower (GFP), India Army is the second-largest army in the world. Although India has a much smaller budget than some of its rivals, but don’t get fooled, India has an army that commands respect! In addition to having many soldiers, India keeps its powerful neighbours (China, Russia and Pakistan) at bay with its nuclear weapons, so you don’t want to mess with this country.

3. United States of America – 1,281,900 active soldiers

United States Armed Forces - One of the largest military in the world
The United States has the most powerful and well-trained soldiers
  • Reserve Soldiers: 860,000
  • Population suitable for service: 119,664,970
  • Annual military budget: $ 716,000,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 1st place

The United States is undoubtedly the most powerful military force in the world and also, the U.S. has the largest military base in the world! It’s not just the numbers that count: the American army has the most powerful and advanced weapons in the world and very well trained soldiers, never forget that the United States has one of the largest military budgets in the world.

In addition, the country has many powerful allies, such as NATO countries. Even so, in recent years, its absolute power has been threatened by Russia and China.

4. North Korea – 1,280,000 active soldiers

Korean People's Army - one of the largest military in the world
The Korean People’s Army is rated as one of the largest military in the world despite their poor economy
  • Reserve Soldiers: 6,300,000
  • Population suitable for service: 10,123,601
  • Annual military budget: $ 7,500,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 18th place

North Korea is a very poor country but does not save on the military budget. North Korea long history of resentment against the United States and struggle with South Korea has led to the creation of a very powerful army.

North Korea is well ranked by the Global Firepower as despite the fact that the country isn’t very buoyant economically, you cant toy with them.

Currently, N-Korea biggest “card up his sleeve” is its nuclear bombs and long-range missiles (to take these bombs to the enemies). 

5. Russia – 1,013,628 active soldiers

Russian Armed Forces - largest armies in the world
Russian Armed Forces are rated as the 2nd most powerful nation in the world
  • Soldiers in reserve: 2,572,500
  • Population suitable for service: 46,658,907
  • Annual military budget: $ 44,000,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 2nd place

Behind the United States alone, Russia is a military force that cannot be ignored, according to Global Firepower rankings, Russia is the second most powerful country in the world and Russia has one of the largest military budgets in the world.

Combining a vast nuclear arsenal with unbeatable ground forces, the Russian army is a constant concern for its Eastern European neighbours.

The only thing that threatens its power in Europe is the strength of all NATO countries together!

6. Pakistan – 654,000 active soldiers

Pakistan Armed Forces
The Pakistan Armed Forces is rated as the most powerful Islamic nation
  • Reserve Soldiers: 550,000
  • Population suitable for service: 76,111,979
  • Annual military budget: $ 7,000,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 15th place

This is the largest army in an Islamic country in the world, i.e. Pakistan is the most powerful Islamic country in the world, certainly, Pakistan should make the list of the largest militaries in the world.

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Allied with China, Pakistan has developed its military capabilities, keeping India (its rival) at bay. But the army also has a bad habit of interfering in politics, deposing democratically elected leaders.

7. South Korea – 625,000 active soldiers

South Korea Military
Republic of Korea Armed Forces
  • Reserve soldiers: 5,202,250
  • Population suitable for service: 21,081,420
  • Annual military budget: $ 38,300,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 7th place

South Korea, one of the war lovers having formidable military personnel is rated as the 7th largest armies in the world, they have the numbers, the tactics and the budget.

Anyone who is a fan of k-pop knows that South Korea has mandatory military service for all men (and very popular singers are not exempt). The two Koreas never signed a peace treaty after the Korean War, so South Korea maintains a strong army to face the threat from North Korea.

8. Iran – 523,000 active soldiers

Iran Army - One of the strongest armies in the world
The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran
  • Reserve Soldiers: 350,000
  • Population suitable for service: 39,842,164
  • Annual military budget: $ 6,300,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 14th place

Iran is no joke! Believe me, you don’t wanna get into a fight with this country. Irans military strength is sufficient to concern the United States and its great rival: Iraq.

In addition to its strong army, the Iranian government is betting on supporting other groups in the countries around it, whose actions draw the attention of their country. The growing tension with the United States following the assassination of Major General Qasem Soleimani, ordered by Donald Trump, worries the entire world in 2020 as this almost or will likely translate to the third world war if care is not taken.

9. Vietnam – 482,000 active soldiers

The Vietnam Army - One of the Strongest Armies
People’s Army of Vietnam
  • Reserve Soldiers: 5,000,000
  • Population suitable for service: 41,804,394
  • Annual military budget: $ 3,365,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 23rd place

Few countries can keep China and the United States at bay by joining forces together, but Vietnam alone can! The Vietnam War was one of the biggest military defeats in the United States history and, since then, Vietnam has strengthened its army to guarantee its independence from the great superpowers.

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In that country, military service is mandatory for all men, so their reserve troops are large, they also maintain a good annual budget to strengthen their arsenal.

10. Egypt – 440,000 active soldiers

Egyptian Armed Forces
The Egyptian Armed Forces is rated as the strongest military in Africa
  • Reserve Soldiers: 480,000
  • Population suitable for service: 36,075,104
  • Annual military budget: $ 4,400,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 12th place

With a lot of internal and external violence to face, the Egyptian government is betting heavily on its army. Egypt is Africa’s most powerful military force, despite facing many divisions in the country. The Egyptian army has repeatedly confronted its biggest rival in the region: Israel.

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Egypt can boast of heavy military arsenal, good annual military budget to keep the arsenal loaded and well-trained soldiers.

11. Myanmar – 406,000 active soldiers

Tatmadaw Armed force - Myanmar
The Tatmadaw Armed force
  • Reserve Soldiers: 110,000
  • Population suitable for service: 21,816,482
  • Annual military budget: $ 2,400,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 37th place

Tatmadaw is the official name for Myanmar Armed forces, according to GFP, Myanmar is ranked among the largest armies in the world. The Myanmar army has been in the news recently because of its genocides against ethnic minorities within the country.

Despite being (officially) transitioning to a democracy, the country continues to be controlled by the army. And it’s a very strong army.

12. Indonesia – 400,000 active soldiers

Indonesia Army

  • Reserve Soldiers: 400,000
  • Population suitable for service: 108,620,545
  • Annual military budget: $ 6,900,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 16th place

Indonesia is one of the great military powers in Southeast Asia. To keep its many islands safe, the Indonesian government promotes good relations between the army and the civilian population, composed mainly of villagers.

The conflict with Timor-Leste has reduced its access to arms from other countries but its military strength continues to grow.

13. Thailand – 360,000 active soldiers

Royal Thai Armed Forces
Royal Thai Armed Forces
  • Reserve Soldiers: 245,000
  • Population suitable for service: 27,368,121
  • Annual military budget: $ 5,390,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 26th place

In addition to having many soldiers, in recent years, the Thai army has invested a lot of money in modernization. Its military budget is one of the largest in Southeast Asia. The country lives in peace, but with neighbours as powerful as China and Vietnam, you must always be prepared.

14. Turkey – 355,000 active soldiers

Turkish Armed Forces
Turkish Armed Forces
  • Reserve Soldiers: 380,000
  • Population suitable for service: 35,151,882
  • Annual military budget: $ 8,600,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 9th place

The Turkish army is quite robust but has suffered internal problems recently. In addition to dealing with war on its borders and a refugee crisis, the army has internal divisions. In 2016, parts of the army attempted to carry out a coup d’état against President Erdogan but failed, leading to many arrests, persecutions and changes in leadership.

15. Brazil – 334,500 active soldiers

Brazilian Armed Forces
Brazilian Armed Forces
  • Reserve Soldiers: 1,340,000
  • Population suitable for service: 84,595,522
  • Annual military budget: $ 29,300,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 13th place

Brazil is becoming a military power that can compete with the biggest in the world! The Brazilian armed forces operate mainly in internal security and in some actions of the United Nations. With the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, the army will probably play a more active role in the country.

16. Colombia – 295,000 active soldiers

Military Forces of Colombia
Military Forces of Colombia – Largest Latin America Army
  • Reserve Soldiers: 35,000
  • Population suitable for service: 19,079,739
  • Annual military budget: $ 12,145,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 46th place

The army’s main job in Colombia is to fight rebel groups that want to conquer the country. In recent years, violence has decreased but many resources are still being spent on strengthening the army against internal conflicts. The Colombian army is the largest in Latin America.

17. Mexico – 277,000 active soldiers

Mexican Armed Forces
Mexican Armed Forces
  • Reserve Soldiers: 81,500
  • Population suitable for service: 48,972,939
  • Annual military budget: $ 7,000,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 34th place

The Mexican army is quite large, but it also has serious problems. The internal war with the drug lords is very violent and uses most of the army’s resources. In addition, military forces have a lot of crime and internal corruption, making the situation worse in the country.

18. Japan – 247,157 active soldiers

Japan Self-Defense Forces
The Japan Self-Defense Forces
  • Reserve Soldiers: 56,000
  • Population suitable for service: 43,637,780
  • Annual military budget: $ 47,000,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 6th place

Japan has always been a powerful military force in the East and that has not changed today. But although it is one of the largest armies in the world, the Japanese army is rarely involved in international conflicts. Japanese troops work mainly in helping in natural disaster situations and soldiers are taught martial arts to be able to defend themselves without weapons.

19. Sri Lanka – 245,000 active soldiers

Sri Lanka Armed Forces
Picture of Chamal Pathirana
  • Reserve Soldiers: 36,000
  • Population suitable for service: 8,850,927
  • Annual military budget: $ 1,500,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 90th place

Sri Lanka is a relatively small island but has been the scene of a major civil war, which has only recently ended. The Tamil warriors’ struggle for independence led to a struggle of several decades and the country’s government strengthened its army to defeat them.

20. Saudi Arabia – 230,000 active soldiers

Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia
Armed Forces of Saudi Arabia
  • Reserve Soldiers: 0
  • Population suitable for service: 16,198,927
  • Annual military budget: $ 70,000,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 25th place

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s largest buyers of weapons of war. Its military budget is also one of the largest in the world. This, together with the country’s oil reserves, makes Saudi Arabia one of the most powerful forces in the Middle East, with power even to influence superpowers like the United States.

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21. Taiwan – 215,000 active soldiers

Republic of China Armed Forces
Republic of China Armed Forces
  • Reserve Soldiers: 1,675,000
  • Population suitable for service: 10,001,383
  • Annual military budget: $ 10,725,000,000
  • Position among the most powerful armies: 22nd place

The Chinese government insists that Taiwan belongs to China. Taiwan, for its part, insists that it is an independent country. With such a powerful neighbour wanting to take over its territory, the Taiwanese government takes security very seriously! All the men in the country have to do mandatory military service and the army works hard to defend quickly against attacks.

Conclusions 

You don’t want to undermine any country that doesn’t make it up to the list of largest armies in the world not until you had a face-off, even at that there is no guarantee of victory against any country because most countries rely on allies.

FAQs

Who has the largest armies in the world?

Below is the list of countries with the largest armies in the world. 1. China – 2,183,000 active soldiers 2. India – 1,362,500 active soldiers 3. United States of America – 1,281,900 active soldiers 4. North Korea – 1,280,000 active soldiers 5. Russia – 1,013,628 active soldiers 6. Pakistan – 654,000 active soldiers 7. South Korea – 625,000 active soldiers 8. Iran – 523,000 active soldiers 9. Vietnam – 482,000 active soldiers 10. Egypt – 440,000 active soldiers 11. Myanmar – 406,000 active soldiers 12. Indonesia – 400,000 active soldiers.

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