Pakistan Military - 2023


GEOGRAPHICAL NAMES  Spanish Simplified Chinese French German Russian Hindi Arabic Portuguese

Military and security forces

Pakistan Army (includes National Guard), Pakistan Navy (includes marines, Maritime Security Agency), Pakistan Air Force (Pakistan Fizaia); Ministry of Interior: Frontier Corps, Pakistan Rangers (2023)

note 1: the National Guard is a paramilitary force and one of the Army's reserve forces, along with the Pakistan Army Reserve, the Frontier Corps, and the Pakistan Rangers

note 2: the Frontier Corps is a paramilitary force manned mostly by individuals from the tribal areas and commanded by officers from the Pakistan Army; its primary mission is security of the border with Afghanistan; the Frontier Corps is under the Ministry of Interior, but would report to the Army in times of conflict

note 3: the Pakistan Rangers is a paramilitary force operating in Sindh and Punjab

Military expenditures

4% of GDP (2022 est.)

4% of GDP (2021 est.)

4% of GDP (2020 est.)

4.1% of GDP (2019 est.)

4.1% of GDP (2018 est.)

Military and security service personnel strengths

information varies; approximately 630,000 active duty personnel (550,000 Army; 30,000 Navy; 50,000 Air Force); approximately 150,000 Frontier Corps and Pakistan Rangers (2022)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the military's inventory includes a broad mix of equipment, primarily from China, but also from such suppliers as France, Russia, Turkey, Ukraine, the UK, and the US; China has been the leading supplier of arms to Pakistan; Pakistan also has a large domestic defense industry (2023)

Military service age and obligation

16 (or 17 depending on service) to 23 years of age for voluntary military service; soldiers cannot be deployed for combat until age 18; women serve in all three armed forces; reserve obligation to age 45 for enlisted men, age 50 for officers (2022)

Military deployments

1,300 Central African Republic (MINUSCA); 1,970 Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO); 220 Mali (MINUSMA); 290 South Sudan (UNMISS); 220 Sudan (UNISFA) (May 2022)

Military - note

the Pakistan military operates largely independently and without effective civilian oversight; it has ruled the country for more than 30 years since independence in 1947 and continues to play a significant role in Pakistan's political arena; it also has a large stake in the country’s economic sector and is involved in a diverse array of commercial activities, including banking, construction of public projects, employment services, energy and power generation, fertilizer, food, housing, real estate, and security services

the military is responsible for external defense but also has a large role in domestic security; its chief external focus is on the perceived threat from India; the military is the lead security agency in many areas of the former Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA); it has considerable operational experience, having engaged in several conflicts with India and conducted counterinsurgency and counterterrorism operations for decades against various militant groups in the former FATA; it is also one of the longest serving and largest contributors to UN peacekeeping missions; China is its closest security partner

the Army is the largest component; it has approximately 22 combat divisions, plus about 20 independent combat brigades; the Army also has an inventory of over 5,000 artillery systems organized into divisions and brigades, plus several squadrons of attack helicopters; the Navy operates throughout the Indian Ocean and conducts a variety of missions, including countering piracy, narcotics, and smuggling, protecting Pakistan’s sea lines of communications, multinational security and humanitarian operations, and naval diplomacy; the Navy is in the midst of a large modernization effort; its principal combat ships are a mix of about 15 frigates and corvettes, plus 5 attack submarines; there is also a small marine amphibious force; the Air Force’s combat missions include the air defense of Pakistan and support to the Army and Navy; it has over 400 Chinese-, French-, and US-made combat aircraft 

Pakistan and India have fought several conflicts since 1947, including the Indo-Pakistan War of 1965 and the Indo-Pakistan and Bangladesh War of Independence of 1971, as well as two clashes over the disputed region of Kashmir (First Kashmir War of 1947 and the Kargil Conflict of 1999); a fragile cease-fire in Kashmir was reached in 2003, revised in 2018, and reaffirmed in 2021, although the Line of Control remains contested, and India has accused Pakistan of backing armed separatists and terrorist organizations in Jammu and Kashmir; in addition, India and Pakistan have battled over the Siachen Glacier of Kashmir, which was seized by India in 1984 with Pakistan attempting to retake the area in 1985, 1987, and 1995; despite a cease-fire, as of 2022 both sides continued to maintain a permanent military presence there with outposts at altitudes above 20,000 feet (over 6,000 meters) where most casualties were due to extreme weather or the hazards of operating in the high mountain terrain of the world’s highest conflict, including avalanches, exposure, and altitude sickness

Pakistan has Major Non-NATO Ally (MNNA) status with the US; MNNA is a designation under US law that provides foreign partners with certain benefits in the areas of defense trade and security cooperation (2023)

NOTE: The information regarding Pakistan on this page is re-published from the 2023 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Pakistan 2023 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Pakistan 2023 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 06 Dec 23, Copyright © 2023 ITA all rights reserved.