Indian Air Force vs Chinese Air Force: The rivalry in numbers

Both India and China are looking to rapidly modernise their military with a focus on advanced hardware.

Indian Air Force vs Chinese Air Force: The rivalry in numbers

New Delhi: Air Marshal BS Dhanoa recently said that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is on a 'strong wicket' against China. While many security experts and analysts have indeed said in the past that when it comes to the eastern sector of the country - especially in and around the Doklam area, IAF has a geographical advantage, a head-to-head count between IAF and China's Air Force (PLAAF) reveals intriguing statistics.

Both India and China are looking to modernise their respective military might. While India has inked deals with numerous countries like France, Russia, Israel and the United States for military hardware, China is focusing on exponentially increasing its expeditionary capabilities. That China is fast manufacturing quality military hardware - including fifth-generation stealth fighter J-20, gives it an edge in many areas.

Here's taking a look at how the two countries stack up numerically in terms of power in the air.

Fighters/Interceptors: India - 676, China - 1271

Attack Aircraft: India - 808, China - 1385

Transports: India - 857, China - 782

Trainers: India - 323, China - 352

Helicopters: India - 666, China - 912

Attack Helicopters: India - 16, China - 206

Serviceable Airports: India - 346, China - 507

In the unfortunate event of a war between India and China, a large number of factors are likely to decide the final outcome and the purely numerical comparison between IAF and PLAAF are only seen as indicative at best. There is, however, no denying that China's mammoth military budget allows it to have more bragging rights vis-a-vis not just India but other major global powers like Japan and the United States.

(All numerical data from