ranks the world’s top ten biggest armies, based on the troop size. (Updated February 2024)

Unveiling the Top 10 world’s Biggest Armies

People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF), China

The People’s Liberation Army Ground Force (PLAGF) of China is the world’s biggest army, with an estimated 975,000 troops. Established in August 1927, the PLAGF is one of the major military divisions of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

The PLA operates under the command of the Central Military Commission. The active ground forces of the army are deployed across seven military regions in the country.

China is also the second largest military spender in the world after the US. Chinese defence expenditure recorded a compound annual ground rate (CAGR) of 7.5% during 2019–23 and stood at $230.3bn in 2023. Over 2024–28, it is forecast to register a CAGR of 6.6% to value $323.7bn in 2028.

Indian Army

Constituting 1.2 million troops, the Indian Army is commanded by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS). It employs a regimental system divided into mountain, infantry, and armoured and mechanised divisions.

The Indian Army is equipped with T-72 and Arjun tanks, BMP series infantry fighting vehicles, anti-tank guided missiles, Apache helicopters, fast reconnaissance vehicles, modern individual weapons, self-propelled artillery and air defence missiles. Indian defence expenditure including pensions increased from $64.3bn in 2019 to $74bn in 2023, recording a CAGR of 3.6%.

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US Army

The US Army is one of the three military departments (army, navy and air force) working under the Department of Defence. It is mainly composed of active and reserve components.

The US Army employs around 900,000 active-duty and National Guard members. The US defenCe budget grew by 10.7% in 2023 to $818.8bn , up from $739.5bn in 2022.

The US Army utilises modern weaponry including tanks, armoured fighting vehicles, self-propelled and towed artillery, as well as missiles and rocket-launching systems.

Korean People’s Army Ground Force (KPAGF)

The Korean People’s Army Ground Force (KPAGF) is the major arm of North Korea’s Korean People’s Army. Established in August 1947, the KPAGF is estimated to have a current strength of 950,000 troops.

The North Korean ground force holds the arsenal of 4,300 tanks, 2,500 armoured vehicles, 8,600 field artillery systems and 5,500 multiple rocket launchers, according to latest estimates.

Most of the artillery and missile systems are positioned close to the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) dividing North and South Korea.