In an increasingly unstable and polarized world, the importance of a nation's security cannot be highlighted enough. Here's where the soldier steps in, chest jutting out and head held high, as he marches in step with his country's strategic and military needs.
And as armies around the world prepare themselves for any eventuality, we take a look at the 10 largest and 10 smallest armies in the world.
With the largest active military in the world, (2,285,000 personnel) People's Republic of China is the biggest military power in Asia. A major nuclear power, China spends the most on its military after the United States of America. Its military budget for the year 2013 was $114.2 billion.
Headed by the President of India, the Indian military boasts of about 1,325,000 active military personnel. It is the third largest military in the world considering active military strength. On an average, India annually spends about 2.7 % of its GDP on its military. In 2013, India announced its military spending to USD 37 billion; a five percent increase over its previous year's spending.
The North Korean military, also known as the Korean People's Army, is the largest military organisation in the world considering a combination of active, reserve and paramilitary forces which amounts to 9,495,000 but ranks fourth considering just the active military strength with approximately 1,106,000 personnel. The Supreme leader of North Korea is the Supreme Commander of the Korean army. Due to many worldwide economic sanctions, North Korea, of late, has developed many eccentric warfare techniques that include cyber warfare, electronic warfare.
The Russian army, also known as the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, is headed by the President of Russia. With 1,040,000 active military personnel, Russian military ranks fifth in the world. With a budget of USD 53 billion announced for 2013, Russia annually spends about 4 % of its GDP on its military.
With 687,000 active military personnel, the South Korean army - also known as The Republic of Korea Armed Forces - is the sixth largest military power of the world. South Korea spends about USD 30 billion annually on its military.
In terms of the active troops, Pakistan military ranks seventh in the world. Around 617, 000 personnel are a part of the Pakistan's active military. Pakistan annually spends about USD 5 billion on military expenditures.
With active military personnel over 500, 000, Iran is the eighth largest military power in the world. Iran's defence budget annually amounts to 2.7 % of its GDP while its expenditure is believed to be close to USD 10 billion for 2013.
Turkey spends around 2.4 % of its GDP annually on military expenditure. The number of Turkey's active military personnel is approximately equal to 510,600. It ranks ninth in the world in terms of active military personnel
Malaysia ranks tenth in the world with the number of active military personnel approximately equaling to 509,000. It spends about 2 % annually of its GDP on military expenses.