The Indian Army will deploy doubled-humped camels for patrolling and transportation purposes in eastern Ladakh amid the standoff with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) in the region, said a report in the Indian media.
While the plan to deploy camels has been in the pipeline for three years, the first batch of 50-60 camels will finally be handed to the Indian Army in the next five-six months, said a report by India Today. The camel type has reportedly already been tested for deployment with Indian troops.
A native of Ladakh’s remote Nubra Valley, the double-humped camel will be used in Daulat Beg Oldie (DBO) and Depsang, the two high-altitude areas in the region where troops from India and China have been involved in a protracted standoff on account of differing perceptions of the de-facto border.
The news report underlined that the double-humped camels are being reared at a research station under the federal government’s Defence and Research Development Organisation (DRDO).
Also known as the ‘Bactrian’ Camel, the animal can carry loads of nearly 170 kilogram and go without water for three days, as per officials cited in the report.
The double-humped camel will reportedly replace Zanskar Ponies, which were found to be less agile than the camel species in higher altitudes.
The Army had also tried introducing the single-humped camel into the Ladakh region before finalising on its double-humped cousin. The single-humped camel is usually found in the desert state of Rajasthan.
India has a long history of deploying camels in military operations. The Indian Army’s ‘Camel Regiment’ comprises nearly 1,200 camels. The unit, based in Rajasthan, has a record of participating in all but one Republic Day parade.