Indian Navy Vs Chinese Navy- Which Is More Powerful

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Short Answer : Chinese Navy is stronger than Indian Navy but not strong enough to actually defeat Indian Navy. Ishabh Verma wrote an answer on Quora describing how Indian navy and Chinese navy compares with each other.

Sounds complicated Eh?

Long Answer : I have seen whenever someone ask a question like “X Navy Vs Y Navy” people start comparing numbers, that’s not how it works.

In a war if everything solely relied on numbers then the Persians would have defeated the Greeks, the Persians would’ve defeated Alexander the great, the Romans would’ve defeated Hannibal, the Gauls would’ve defeated Julius Caesar, the Chinese would’ve defeated the Mongols, I think you got the idea.

The thing is that there are a lot of factors that come into play when you compare armed forces of two different nations, from manpower to oil-reserves, from diplomatic relations to satellites.

Indian Navy isn’t the only threat for Chinese Navy, from Vietnam to Singapore, from Japan to United States; China already has a lot of ‘enemies’ to deal with. While you’re reading this answer a super carrier strike group is patrolling seas just few hundred miles of the coast of mainland China.

INS Vikramaditya

Every single one of those beauties packs enough firepower to wipe out a small nation from face of the earth.

It’s true that China has a large Nuclear Submarine fleet but it need those submarines to deter that bad boy (or boys), China has to put up considerable strength in South China Sea, patrol Seas around Japan and South Korea and at the same time undertake anti-piracy patrols around Somalia.

Indian Navy also faces a similar issue, it has to defend India from China but at the same time it also has to make sure that western Command is adequately prepared for any Pakistani aggression all at the same time combating pirates.

I’m not going to compare Indian and Chinese Navy per se, because I don’t have access to information/resources to do so.


I know most of you guys came here just to see the numbers so here’s a quick summary.

Chinese Navy

China has the 2nd largest Navy in the World in terms of displacement (after United States).

  • China has 11 Nuclear Submarine in active service with at-least 4 more under construction.
  • China has 57 Conventional Submarines with 5 more under construction.
  • China has 1 Aircraft Carrier (67,000T) with 2 more(65,000T & 110,000T) under construction.
  • China has 28 Destroyers with at-least 5 more under construction.
  • China has 46 Frigates with at-least 4 more under construction.

Behind these China has a huge fleet of smaller vessels, you can read more about them at People’s Liberation Army Navy Surface Force.

Indian Navy

India has the 5th largest Navy in the world in terms of displacement(after US,Chinese,Russian and British Navy).

  • India has one Nuclear Submarines with 2 under construction and at-least 6 more planned.
  • India has 13 Conventional Submarines with 6 under construction and at-least 6 more planned.

  • India has 2 aircraft carriers(45,000T & 30,000T) with one (40,000T) under construction and one (65,000T) more planned.
  • India has 10 Destroyers and 3 more under construction.
  • India has 15 frigates with 7 more planned.

Behind this India has a large fleet of smaller vessels, you can read more about them at List of active Indian Navy ships.

It’s fairly easy to tell that China outnumbers India by 2 to 1 in almost every category.

You must be wondering how India is going to survive against China?
Well India could easily deal with China primarily because of these two reasons,

  1. India and China do not share a Maritime border, rendering a direct naval engagement highly unlikely. I bet you’re shocked, “Wow!! India and China doesn’t share a Maritime border?!?!?”, Indian news channels have a habit of exaggerating everything. (Maritime borders : Marine Regions).
  2. Any sort of engagement between Chinese and Indian Navy will likely be between Indian Western Naval Command (which boats 2 aircraft carriers and at-least 40 other vessels) and small Chinese warships involved in anti-piracy counter-measures around Somalia, China can send some more ships/submarines (not nuclear Submarines as they will serve little to no tactical purpose) but it’s not something Western Naval command can’t handle. (Assuming they are able to get past the Eastern naval command)

So in short, both of them are pretty strong; attacking either of them will be a very very bad idea.

The thing is both Chinese and Indian Navy have a defensive structure, unlike United States Navy, they are not structured to carry out huge offensive operations.

Both of them will do just fine as long they mind their own business and let the other live in peace.

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