JAKARTA, INDONESIA — The GlobalFirePower released its 2020 military ranking, with the US, Russia, China still dominating the top three, followed by India, Japan, and South Korea.
Indonesia surprisingly ranked 16th, above some of the countries with a more advanced military such as Saudi Arabia (17th), Spain (18th), Australia (19th), and Israel (20th), meaning that the archipelagic country’s military is the strongest in Southeast Asia based on the index.
Vietnam came second, followed by Thailand, Myanmar, Singapore—the ASEAN nation with enormous military spending worth USD 15.09 billion in 2019 (2020 because it is equivalent to SGD 20.05)—and Malaysia, the ranking showed.
What are the indicators used in the ranking?
Yusran, an international relations expert at Budi Luhur University, told TOC that the GlobalFirePower ranking shocked most Indonesians. Indonesia was ranked above countries with more advanced military weaponry, such as Saudi Arabia — which relies on American weapons — and Israel.
“What I would like to say regarding military capacity and military modernisation are related to many factors, especially a country’s economic growth. A country’s economic growth will determine how that country can increase its military capacity, including modernisation in military equipment. There are many indicators to see a country’s military strength,” he said.
There are 50 indicators GlobalFirePower uses to measure a country’s military index, ranging from the numbers of active personnel, tanks and submarines, to defence spending.
“Some people may ask why Singapore’s military—which is the richest in the region—came five in the regional ranking. This is because there are many indicators used to determine a military power,” Yusran added.
Singapore has introduced its latest modern military equipment, including the armoured fighting vehicle called Hunter.
The Straits Times reported that the Singapore government-owned military technology development institution DTSA and ST Engineering had developed the Hunter armoured fighting vehicle.
The Hunter will replace the M113, which has been operating since 1970. The Hunter has a 30 mm-cannon, 76 smoke bomb launchers, an anti-tank missile, and a 76.2 mm-coaxial machine gun.
Vietnam continues to modernize its military
The Vietnam War and China’s invasion responding to the ousting of Cambodia’s brutal Khmer Rouge by Hanoi in 1979 led Vietnam to bolster its defence.
During the 2003-2018 period, Vietnam’s defence spending skyrocketed 687 per cent, according to The Diplomat.
From 2006 to 2010, Hanoi doubled its military budget from USD 1.28 billion to USD 2.67 billion, katadata.com reported.
Vietnam will continue to boost its defence to block China’s claim over the disputed South China Sea.
Last year, Vietnam and China were involved in the tension after two China-owned ships attacked a Vietnam-registered fishing boat in the oil-rich waters.
Vietnam relies on Russia-made weaponry.
Also, Hanoi boosts its Navy by using Russia-made Gpar frigate and the Tarantul V corvette — even the 2020 GlobalFirePower ranking on military strength showed that Indonesia has only 468 tanks, while Vietnam has 1,470.