(This was originally published in India Today by Rouf A Roshangar)
Indian Army is set to induct double-humped camels into the force very soon. These animals will be used to carry essential items and other infantry paraphernalia all the way to high altitude areas.
Officials believe each double-humped camel can carry five times more than local ponies found in Ladakh. The Indian Army had been using these local ponies for transportation of essential items until now.
In Ladakh, the number of these double-humped camels is very low and only around 250-300 can be found in the cold desert, particularly in the Nobra valley.
However, the Indian Army believes that the double-humped camels will prove helpful in patrolling the area along the Line of Actual Control (LAC). This is the same area bordering China.
The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in Leh has, in fact, concluded research on the double-humped or Bactrian camels. This research shows that these camels can carry a load of 170 kilograms at an elevation of 17,000 feet in the eastern Ladakh region.
Eastern Ladakh is also where Indian and Chinese troops have been engaged in an intense military standoff since May of last year. Both countries have since engaged in multiple diplomatic and military talks at the highest level to achieve disengagement.