Three RAF Chinooks sent to Nepal to aid with the relief effort in the earthquake-hit country are on their way home after languishing at an Indian Air Force base for almost a month at the cost of £1 million, according to a report in the Daily Mail.
The aircraft were deployed after the nation was hit by a massive 7.8-magnitude earthquake, which killed over 8,000 people and was later followed by a further large quake.
But the British military helicopters were barred from the country after Nepalese authorities said they weren’t needed, amid fears they would damage buildings.
A former air defence chief, Air Commodore Andrew Lambert, criticised the Ministry of Defence for failing to ask Nepal whether the aircraft were needed.
The UK government meanwhile, has argued that the Chinooks had been specifically chosen to ‘minimise any risk of damage to surrounding infrastructure’, adding that they had been used in similar environments, like the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.
The MoD went on to suggest that pressure exerted on Nepal by China and India could have in fact been a factor, with them not wanting their aid efforts to be overshadowed by countries such as the UK, according to the Mail.
The last of the helicopters is due to arrive back in the UK by Sunday.