The 10 Biggest Armed Forces in the World

Having a large armed force is indicative of several things: a large population, significance on the global stage and a fear of outbreaks of violence. It is not always a sign of wealth, as some of the armed forces on this list belong to countries with a nominal GDP outside the top 30 countries. These “poorer” armed forces tend to rely on outdated equipment and less well-trained personnel to fill their ranks. The term “armed forces” is often confused with “army” (which more accurately alludes to a ground force), although even some of the countries on this list call their entire armed forces an army (contrast United States Armed Forces with the Korean People’s Army). For the sake of this round-up of power, armed forces include all active military personnel figures (navy, air force, marines, army, coast guard etc.) available for that nation. Certain countries are notoriously difficult when it comes to providing accurate data, so sourced estimations have been made for them. Reserve forces and paramilitaries have not been included. Numbers have fluctuated considerably over recent years. For example, sources for Turkey state a military strength from 410,500 to 664,049 (the latter figure would have put Turkey in the top 10). However, a very recent figure, published by the official website for the Turkish Armed Forces, stood at 375,374, possibly down to budget cuts and reorganization. 10. Algeria: 511,000 active military personnel 9. Iran: 583,000 active military personnel 8. Egypt: 606,500 active military personnel 7. South Korea: 639,000 active military personnel 6. Pakistan: 646,000 active military personnel 5. Russia: 766,055 active military personnel 4. North Korea: 1,120,000 active military personnel 3. India: 1,325,450 active military personnel 2. USA: 1,369,532 active military personnel 1. China: 2,285,000 active military personnel


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