China and India are the two largest anthropogenic aerosol generating countries in the world. In this study, we develop a new inventory of sulfur dioxide (SO<sub>2</sub>) and primary carbonaceous aerosol (i.e., black and organic carbon, BC and OC) emissions from these two countries for the period 1996–2010, using a technology-based methodology. Emissions from major anthropogenic sources and open biomass burning are included, and time-dependent trends in activity rates and emission factors are incorporated in the calculation. Year-specific monthly temporal distributions for major sectors and gridded emissions at a resolution of 0.1°×0.1° distributed by multiple year-by-year spatial proxies are also developed. In China, the interaction between economic development and environmental protection causes large temporal variations in the emission trends. From 1996 to 2000, emissions of all three species showed a decreasing trend (by 9 %–17 %) due to a slowdown in economic growth, a decline in coal use in non-power sectors, and the implementation of air pollution control measures. With the economic boom after 2000, emissions from China changed dramatically. BC and OC emissions increased by 46 % and 33 % to 1.85 Tg and 4.03 Tg in 2010. SO<sub>2</sub> emissions first increased by 61 % to 34.0 Tg in 2006, and then decreased by 9.2 % to 30.8 Tg in 2010 due to the wide application of flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) equipment in power plants. Driven by the remarkable energy consumption growth and relatively lax emission controls, emissions from India increased by 70 %, 41 %, and 35 % to 8.81 Tg, 1.02 Tg, and 2.74 Tg in 2010 for SO<sub>2</sub>, BC, and OC, respectively. Monte Carlo simulations are used to quantify the emission uncertainties. The average 95 % confidence intervals (CIs) of SO<sub>2</sub>, BC, and OC emissions are estimated to be −16 %–17 %, −43 %–93 %, and −43 %–80 % for China, and −15 %–16 %, −41 %–87 %, and −44 %–92 % for India, respectively. Sulfur content, fuel use, and sulfur retention of hard coal and the actual FGD removal efficiency are the main contributors to the uncertainties of SO<sub>2</sub> emissions. Biofuel combustion related parameters (i.e., technology divisions, fuel use, and emission factor determinants) are the largest source of OC uncertainties, whereas BC emissions are also sensitive to the parameters of coal combustion in the residential and industrial sectors and the coke-making process. Comparing our results with satellite observations, we find that the trends of estimated emissions in both China and India are in good agreement with the trends of aerosol optical depth (AOD) and SO<sub>2</sub> retrievals obtained from different satellites.