Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (2023)

Most powerful military superpower in 2050

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (1)

Since the end of the Cold War, the United States was quickly branded as the world's sole superpower, but Russia and China soon rebounded from the collapse of the Soviet Union in their own ways to challenge US supremacy. Due to the increasing military power and economies of these countries, the paradigm of the world has shifted from a power monopoly to a multipolar power world.

While these countries and organizations such as NATO are traditionally viewed as the leading powers in the world today and for years to come, with advances in technology and an ever-expanding global economy, there are still plenty of opportunities for other countries and organizations to join the elite club of "top powers".

So what does the future bring? A single superpower like today - and that's not necessarily the USA? Or multiple superpowers? Let's take a look at two possibilities for powers that could dethrone not only the US, but also China and Russia!


Number one - India

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (2)

India seems like it should already be a world military power simply because it has the second largest population and military service in the world behind China, but that is not the case. Faced with such an imminent threat, India was unable to deploy its military strength abroad.

India and Pakistan have fought a series of wars over their borders since the late 1940s to the present day. These clashes erupted into full-blown wars several times, and even today there is an ongoing insurgency along India's northwestern border, fueled mainly in part by Pakistan.

However, it is not just its western border that has seen conflict, for along its northern border India has also focused on preventing Chinese incursion into its territory, and there have been several skirmishes and disputes with the Chinese along its northeastern border with Tibet. Most recently, India suffered heavy casualties in a skirmish between Indian and Chinese troops, although all-out war was averted.

India military power

But in recent years India has decided to make its military and economy more global. The Indian Army itself is huge, with its total military personnel of over a million active duty soldiers, its Navy with an active aircraft carrier in its fleet, and an Air Force with thousands of combat aircraft. India is also one of the few countries in the world to have a nuclear triad, meaning it could launch nuclear missiles from land, sea and air.


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Despite all these advantages, the Indian military still has some problems that need to be solved in order to transform it from a regional to a global power. The first of these is upgrading their equipment and making their own military hardware.

India still imports most of its military equipment from the US, Russia and Israel. Some of their key force projection assets, like their bomber planes and ships, are decades old. These aging platforms, while still serviceable and cared for by Native Americans, would be surpassed by most of today's ships and airplanes.

Powerful military budget

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (3)

The IndianMilitarymust also democratize its military spending. Although India's defense budget is the fourth largest in the world at almost $57 billion, the bulk of it goes to the army.

While this is partially understandable given that the army has been fighting various insurgencies for decades - particularly in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks - it shows how much leverage the military has over politicians in government.

In order to fully modernize its Air Force and Navy to project power abroad, larger sums of money must be spent on these two services, since the Army receives more money than both combined.

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (4)

Your naval strategy must also be figured out. Without a doubt, a strong blue-water navy is a precursor to becoming a superpower. The Indian Navy is quite capable as it is one of only a handful of countries in the world to operate an aircraft carrier and they have started production of their nuclear powered submarines. However, these positive attributes are being outweighed by the debate among Indian naval leaders as to what type of strategy they should pursue going forward.


One side wants to adopt a more conservative, regional approach, known as the Soviet Fortress Fleet Doctrine, to keep the navy subservient to the army and only concern itself with protecting the coast where it can be backed up by land power.

Other Indian officers of the British school of thought want to model their navies after the Royal Navy and US Navy, which conduct operations around the world well beyond their shores. Until this conflict is resolved, it is unclear whether the Indians will have a unified naval strategy.

What India needs to do to become a military superpower

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (5)

Although there are several issues for Indians to work on, they have taken strides over the past decade to make themselves known as players on the global power scene. One of the ways they achieved this was by becoming the leading military donor to UN peacekeeping missions. Since its inception, the UN Security Council has approved 46 different assignments, and Indian soldiers and police officers have served in 43 of them.

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Through its strong involvement in peacekeeping abroad, India has continued to build strong relationships with young nations around the world. This may not seem important now, but once these conflicts are over, the impact that the Indian people will have will be enormous. Because they have helped ensure the nation's peace and security, they have prepared to build future allies with strong military and economic ties around the world in places where other powers may not yet have a foothold.

India has also taken steps to produce more of its own technology. Various indigenous programs to develop new technologies have been launched in recent years. Some of these programs, like their program to build unmanned, armed drones like the US, have had limited success compared to some of their missile programs, which just last year were able to shoot down an in-orbit satellite. This test ranked India among the few nations in the world capable of such a feat.

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (6)

What are they better at?

These somewhat improvised programs were eventually codified into official defense policy as of July 2020. This plan, published by the Ministry of Defense as the Draft Defense Production and Export Promotion Policy, calls for a series of major defense industry reforms. One of the largest calls for the indigenization of thousands of critical defense technologies so that India is less reliant on imports. The government also wants to streamline the procurement process and create special defense industrial zones within the country.


The plan also calls for the private sector to take more of the market and invest more money in research and development. Indian politicians also hope that this investment will boost their arms exports by 100 percent over the next five years and aim to make India a leading exporter in the world arms market.

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (7)

Although India is not a superpower today, they are undoubtedly making positive progress towards becoming one by 2050. Assuming their ambitious plan to overhaul their defense industry works and can create a unified, global strategy between their various military branches. If so, it is very likely that India will be a military superpower in the years to come.

number twoThe African Union

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (8)

For the past fifty years, the nations of Africa have worked together to unite under common political and military lines to harness the combined power of the African continent. The various attempts to organize African states under a political body either failed or slightly missed the mark until 2002, when the African Union was finally organized.


The makeup of the African Union

The African Union is a multifaceted organization modeled on the European Union and is made up of numerous entities. The political arm consists of the two major bodies: the Pan-African Parliament and the African Union Assembly. The Pan-African Parliament consists of elected citizens from all African nations and the assembly consists of the heads of state of each country.

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The right wing consists of the Court of Justice, tasked with interpreting rules and disputes over treaties within the organization, and the African Court of Human and Peoples' Rights, which seeks to adjudicate human rights abuses between signatory states.

Unlike the EU, the AU also has a military component, the Peace and Security Council. The Council consists of fifteen member states, all of which are elected. The aim is to stop and end conflicts wherever they arise. African nations volunteer soldiers and police to these missions, and since its inception, the organization has deployed troops to 12 different countries.


availability of resources

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (9)

The AU has significant influence in terms of both people, natural resources, military and economic power. Over 1.25 billion people live within the borders of the AU, and seven of the thirteen members of OPEC are also members of the AU. The AU also has enormous military power - only the ten largest member states combined have an overall strength that is almost as great as the United States, at least in terms of manpower. In the last ten years, the African continent has also developed into the No. 1 economic engine.

Although current economic output is about 7 trillion, it has been growing rapidly year over year compared to the current US output of 21 trillion per year. Some countries like South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania and Ethiopia have achieved double-digit GDP growth every year in recent years. The continent is expected to nearly double its population by 2050 and have an estimated output of $29 trillion.

Show promise as a superpower

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (10)

Africa is already well on the way there. Over the past decade, the number of people living in extreme poverty has declined by about 1 percent a year, while the number of people living in urban areas has also increased by 1 percent.


Living in urban environments has been shown to increase economic productivity, causing the number of African nations entering so-called “middle-income countries” — countries where the average GDP per person exceeds $1,000 lies – increases significantly.

In 2013, the African Union developed an aggressive economic plan to propel the continent forward as a global economic superpower. This plan, called Agenda 2063, envisages launching a series of so-called "flagship projects".

There are fifteen such projects, which include things like creating an African industrial base to process its own natural resources, a high-speed rail network connecting all major economic centers, developing a pan-African air route for goods, creating a joint economic forum, and eliminating all visas and the creation of a new common passport, the adoption of a common currency, the creation of centralized banks, and the improvement of education among others.


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achievements so far

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (11)

So far, the AU has made excellent progress towards achieving these ambitious goals. In their first report, published in February 2020, both the AU and UN were amazed at what had already been achieved and that they were already ahead of schedule.

Then, just five months later, the Continental Free Trade Agreement was ordered by the AU to move into its first operational phase. This agreement will eliminate virtually all tariffs between members and encourage more trade, especially between less developed countries.

But despite all this progress, the AU still has many challenges to overcome before it can become a world superpower. For one thing, everything the AU does depends on the participation of its member countries. Since membership is voluntary, there is nothing that can compel members to accept or comply with any contract that the AU accepts.


For example, if the Human Rights Court makes decisions when the member does not recognize the court - which many members do not - then nothing can be enforced. Not every member decided to take part in the Continental Free Trade Agreement either, as fewer than half of the member nations presented their plans for implementing the agreement.

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (12)

There is no shortage of challenges

Not to mention that in order to become a military power, issues like education and corruption must be addressed. On average, African nations educate their citizens far less than other countries. While some nations like South Africa and Ethiopia do reasonably well, there are many that lag behind the rest of the world and women's education is of particular importance in most AU countries.

The AU is also home to some of the world's most corrupt countries, with nations like Libya, Sudan and Somalia among the world's most corrupt. Most AU nations do not break into the world's 100 least corrupt countries.


There have also been many objections from member states to the introduction of a common currency called the Afro, and there is no Central African Bank yet. Although the AU wants a central bank along with an AU-managed central investment and pension fund, these projects have not yet come to fruition.

Who will be the top military superpower in 2050? (13)

Although the African Union was founded less than twenty years ago, it has made extraordinary strides since its inception. The combined economic and military might of all African nations is a force to be reckoned with, and the AU's plans are already set for long-term success. However, the main challenge for the AU to become a leading military power is to get all member states to agree to AU policies and fully comply with them so that countries not only care for each other but for the good of the whole.

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Wrap up

These two rising powers could one day upend the old world order, but will they do so peacefully, or will the world fall into the Thucydides trap, where one great power supplanting another inevitably ends in war? Only time can tell.



Who will be the strongest military in 2050? ›

China has been making significant investments in boosting its military power, which again highlights its global ambitions. While challenges remain, most experts believe that China will be the new superpower by 2050.

Which country will be most powerful by 2050? ›

By 2050, China is forecasted to have a gross domestic product of over 58 trillion U.S. dollars.

Which countries will dominate the world in 2050? ›

As a result, six of the seven largest economies in the world are projected to be emerging economies in 2050 led by China (1st), India (2nd) and Indonesia (4th) The US could be down to third place in the global GDP rankings while the EU27's share of world GDP could fall below 10% by 2050.

Which country will be strongest in future? ›

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Oct 16, 2022

Who will be the next world power? ›

By 2050, more countries are likely to be defined as superpowers, joining the United States and creating a multipolar world order. Extrapolating current economic, geopolitical, and demographic trends would suggest that China is likely to become a new superpower, although its economy is currently faltering.

Will China overtake the US as world superpower by 2050? ›

Will China replace the US as a superpower? There is no guarantee that China can even surpass the U.S. as the world's largest economy. Research firm Capital Economics recently projected that China would still be the No. 2 economy in 2050.

Will China overtake the US? ›

China's gross domestic product will surpass that of the U.S. in about 2035, the Goldman group led by Kevin Daly and Tadas Gedminas wrote, while India's GDP will narrowly surpass the U.S.' in about 2075.

What weapons will the future military use in 2050? ›

In 2050, exoskeleton-equipped soldiers could carry the sorts of heavy machine guns that are today mounted on vehicles, while tanks could be armed with howitzer-class cannons, according to a mathematical formula derived from seven centuries of weapons development.


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