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India, explained

India's border patrol to replace camels with ATVs

Mechanization will likely be costly and less efficient -- not to mention unromantic.

Desert divisions of India's Border Security Force will phase out camels in favor of four-wheeled "sand-scooters" if ongoing trials of vehicles from the US, China and other countries prove successful, reports the Times of India.

Given the opportunities for skimming from the contracts, and the military's fondness for gadgets, no doubt the sand-scooters will prove to be an excellent replacement for the hardy "ship of the desert." But nobody can deny that the vehicles will be more expensive to maintain, more prone to breaking down, and -- most importantly -- less romantic than the present transport favored by the camel corps.

The BSF claims that buying good camels and taking care of them is "quite a task," according to TOI -- though it's a task that can be managed by the residents of the country's desert states, rather than a foreign multinational. 

Gearheads will be interested to learn that China's 500cc Nebula Jaguar and US-based Polaris' Ranger 800, Ranger RZR 4-800 and Sportman are in the running to replace the trusty humps, along with vehicles from India's Maini Group.  

My question: Will this spell the end of Bikaner's famous camel breeding and research center?

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/india/india-border-patrol-camels