The arms trade is booming: The volume of international transfers of major weapons between 2013 and 2017 was 10% higher than between 2008 and 2012.
Countries in Asia have been major players in that trade. The continent was home to three of the top 10 arms exporters between 2013 and 2017 — and eight of the 10 top arms importers.
Arms sales indicate who is beefing up their armed forces, but head-to-head military comparisons are more complex. Global Firepower’s 2017 Military Strength Ranking takes up that task by drawing on more than 50 factors to assign a Power Index score to 133 countries.
The ranking assesses weapons held by each country and pays close attention to their manpower. The geography, logistical capacity, available natural resources, and the status of local industry are also taken into account.
Thirteen Asian countries are among the world’s 25 most powerful militaries, according to the Global Firepower ranking. Below, you can see the 10 strongest armed forces in the region: