The camel is an important animal component of the fragile desert eco-system. With its unique bio-physiological characteristics, the camel has become an icon of adaptation to challenging ways of living in arid and semi-arid regions. The proverbial Ship of Desert earned its epithet on account of its indispensability as a mode of transportation and draught power in desert but the utilities are many and are subject to continuous social and economic changes. The camel has played a significant role in civil law and order, defense and battles from the ancient times till date. The world famous Ganga-Risala of erstwhile Bikaner State was accepted as Imperial Service Troup and participated in World War I and II. The camel helped the engineers while constructing the Indira Gandhi Canal in Western part of Rajasthan. Presently, the camel corps constitutes an important wing of Border Security Force of Indian Para-Military Services.
Considering the importance of camel in the socio-economic development of arid and semi-arid zones, the Government of India established a Project Directorate on Camel at Bikaner (India) on 5th July 1984 under aegis of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) which was upgraded to National Research Center on Camel (NRCC) on September 20, 1995.
Since the distribution of dromedary camels in India (516828 heads) is confined to the arid and semi-arid areas of North-western India spread out in parts of Rajasthan, Gujarat and Haryana, the NRCC is focusing on basic and applied research on one humped camel (Camelus dromedarius). The center is also focusing issues of double humped camel (Camelus bactrianus) found in the cold desert of Nubra Valley of Laddakh region.