Which Countries Could Defeat Pakistan In A War? We Find Out

Pakistan is a major nation in South Asia. It has one of the largest populations in the world and is an important global economy. However, Pakistan also has a history of conflicts, especially against neighbouring India. These wars have not seen decisive victories for Pakistan. As a result, the country has spent years expanding and modernising its armed forces. So what about today? Is there any country in the world that would win a war against Pakistan?

America and China are probably the only two countries that could defeat Pakistan in a war. Both have larger and more advanced armies than Pakistan. However, Pakistan does have a significant armed forces and is a nuclear power. This makes the country very difficult to defeat for any nation.

…But that’s just an overview. In order to really understand which countries could defeat Pakistan in a war, we need to look into the data.

Is There A Country That Could Defeat Pakistan?

Pakistan is a major military power with a large armed forces. Few nations would be able to easily win a war against Pakistan. However, it is likely that the US and China would defeat Pakistan in a war, due to their much larger militaries.

In order to determine if there is any nation in the world that could defeat Pakistan in war, we need to compare the strength of the Pakistan military with that of other major military powers. As Pakistan has one of the largest armies in the world, only really the nations with the biggest militaries could hope to win a war against Pakistan. Any country with a smaller army would almost certainly lose.

Below is a comparison between Pakistan’s military strength and that of other countries with significant armed forces.

CountryNumber of Active-Duty SoldiersNumber of ReservistsNumber of Main Battle TanksNumber of Combat AircraftNumber of Warships
United States1,388,100844,0506,2092,628490
North Korea1,280,000600,0003,500537630
All data from Wikipedia.

America has almost twice the number of combat troops than Pakistan does. The US also has over 300,000 more reservists, and over double the number of tanks. However, where America really dominates Pakistan is in tanks, aircraft and warships – in these areas the US has hugely more resources at its disposal. Its pretty clear looking at the military breakdown that America would win a war against Pakistan.

China has over 1.5 million more active-duty soldiers than Pakistan. They also have twice the number of tanks and over three times the number of combat aircraft. The Chinese navy is also a staggering twenty times larger than Pakistan’s. With its far superior numbers, it highly likely China would win a war against Pakistan.

Russia has around 400,000 more frontline soldiers, and four times the number of reservists than Pakistan has. However, Pakistan has many more tanks than Russia. With that said, Russia has a much larger air force and navy. It is possible that Russia could defeat Pakistan, but it is far from certain.

Vietnam has a much smaller army and air force than Pakistan, although it does have a larger navy. Where Vietnam has an advantage is with its enormous numbers of reserve troops. Even with factoring this in, it’s still not clear who would win a war between Pakistan and Vietnam.

North Korea’s army is larger than Pakistan’s, but not by a significant margin. The DPRK’s military is also outdated and poorly trained. With these factors in consideration, its hard to tell who would in a war if North Korea and Pakistan fought.

Any discussion of an Indian-Pakistan war, and who would win, is going to be controversial. The countries have fought four wars against each other since 1947. However, one thing to note is that India has a larger military than Pakistan. With that said, India does not have such a larger numerical advantage as to make a victory in a war easy to predict.

Is There A Country In Asia That Could Win A War Against Pakistan?

Right, so it’s clear that there are some countries that could defeat Pakistan in a war. However, the countries we’ve look at so far, most of them are thousand of miles away from Pakistan. It’s very unlikely these nations would go to war. But what about in South Asia? Is there a country in the same region as Pakistan that could win a war against it?

India is the only country in South Asia with a military strong enough to win a war against Pakistan. However, the outcome of a Pakistan-India conflict would be impossible to determine, as neither have a significant military advantage.

Below is a table breaking down the military strength of South Asian counties and comparing them to Pakistan.

CountryNumber of Active-Duty SoldiersNumber of ReservistsNumber of Main Battle TanksNumber of Combat AircraftNumber of Warships
Sri Lanka255,0005,50062132
All data from Wikipedia.

As we can see from the above data, Pakistan has a much larger armed forces than any other country in South Asia, apart from India. We discussed above how a war between Pakistan and India would be hard to predict the outcome of. However, a war between Pakistan and any other country in South Asia would almost certainly result in a Pakistani victory.

Why Pakistan Would Likely Never Be Defeated In A War?

As we’ve discussed, there very few nations that could win a war against Pakistan. In fact, it is likely only the US, and maybe China, would come our victorious over Pakistan in a conflict. But why is Pakistan so hard to defeat? Actually, there are four main factors:

  • Pakistan has a huge military
  • Pakistan has a large population
  • Pakistan’s geography makes it hard to attack
  • Pakistan has nuclear weapons

Let’s quickly go over each of these…

Pakistan Has A Huge Military

A first reason why Pakistan would likely not be defeated in a war is because of its large military. Pakistan may not have the biggest armed forces in the world, and there are some nations with larger militaries, however Pakistan still has an enormous army and this would make it hard to defeat.

Pakistan Has A Large Population

A second reason why Pakistan would be hard to win a war against is because of its huge population. Pakistan has a population of 231 million people, making it the fifth most populated country in the world. Pakistan’s large population not only allows it to have an enormous army, but also means more people to draft into the armed forces, or to support economically, if the country goes to war. This makes Pakistan a difficult country to win a war against.

Pakistan’s Geography Makes It Hard To Attack

Another reason why Pakistan would be hard to win a war against is because of the country’s geography. Pakistan has many geographical features including mountains, rivers and forests that, even with modern technology, armies have challenges overcoming. These geographical features also assist defending forces, meaning Pakistan would almost certainly win any war fought on its territory.

Pakistan Has Nuclear Weapons

A final reason why Pakistan would be almost impossible to defeat in a war is because the country has nuclear weapons. Pakistan has been a nuclear power since 1998. This means that Pakistan could launch a nuclear strike against any nation it went to war with.

Global Affairs Explained

Global Affairs Explained is an ongoing project aiming to provide concise guides to world events. Focusing on international relations, history, and geo-politics, Global Affairs Explained uses original research and data to answer questions often not covered by traditional media.

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