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WHO'S THE STRONGEST OF 'EM ALL?

India’s military is one of the strongest in the world—but its soldiers are among the worst paid

REUTERS/ADNAN ABIDI
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  • Niharika Sharma
By Niharika Sharma

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India has one of the strongest militaries in the world—but its soldiers are among the worst paid.

The country currently stands at the fourth spot, after China, the US, and the Russian Federation, in terms of military strength, according to a study released on March 21 by Military Direct, an e-commerce site that sells military gear.

The study, which included 12 major countries, ranked the military prowess of countries on a variety of factors such as budgets, the number of inactive and active personnel, total air, sea, land, and nuclear power, average salaries, and weight of equipment. The countries were given scores on a scale of one to 100.

As per the conventional rankings, the US military is known for being the strongest, followed by the Russian Federation, and China. Military Direct ranked China as the strongest based on a scoring system and information from its own sources.

“It looks like China would come out as top dog in a hypothetical super conflict,” the study said.

India’s military spending

The US beat all other nations in terms of military spending with “a whopping budget” of $732 billion per year, the study said.

China was next with a $261 billion annual spending and India came in third with just $71 billion.

“The UK Government looking to add $21.9 billion to their budget in 2021, rankings could definitely change in the future. Of course, having the most money doesn’t necessarily translate into being the most successful military but it certainly helps,” the study stated.

Poorly paid Indian soldiers

Even though India is among the top five nations in terms of military spending, its soldiers are poorly paid, the study showed. Canada tops the list in the salary satisfaction level, while India stood at the 11th spot.

“If the most successful army is the one who supports their troops the most, then Canada would come out on top. The country has high salaries across each level of service, from private to sergeant and lieutenant, and in our 10 point scoring system points, would hit 26/30 for overall salary satisfaction. France comes second, with strong starting salaries across each level,” the report said.

In India, a soldier with one year of experience earns around Rs4.5 lakh annually. However, there are other benefits and various tax rebates that come with the service. But given the tough conditions that many Indian soldiers serving in, there has been a demand to raise allowances.

It should be noted that the salaries of officers in Indian defence are 29% higher compared to those working in the civil services. But when compared to defence officers around the globe, the remuneration is much lesser.

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