India on Wednesday said the Sikkim impasse with China can be resolved through diplomatic-level talks, provided Beijing withdraws its troops from Bhutanese territory, PTI reported.

“I think the issue can be resolved at the diplomatic level,” said Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre. “The Chinese troops should stay where they were earlier. China is approaching Bhutanese territory. We want them to not come forward.”

Bhamre added that Bhutan’s King on Tuesday had expressed concern about China directing its soldiers to venture into its territory. “This is our security concern and this is our stand...This tension can be resolved at the diplomatic level. Across the table, we can solve all the problems,” the minister said.

‘India ‘trampled’ on Panchsheel principles’

Bhamre’s statement came after Beijing accused New Delhi of “trampling” on the principles of the Panchsheel Pact, demanding that India “correct its mistakes” by pulling back its troops immediately. The country also claimed that India was “misleading the public” by saying that Chinese troops were building a road in the Sikkim sector.

“As we all know that in the 1950s China, India and Myanmar proposed the five principles [Panchsheel] of co-existence,” Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang told reporters in Beijing.

The Sikkim standoff

India and China have both maintained that troops from the other country transgressed into their territory. Bilateral ties have been strained since the Indian Army stopped China from constructing a road in the Doklam area of the Sikkim sector. New Delhi has made it clear that it will not allow China to construct a motorable road up to the Sikkim-Bhutan-Tibet tri-junction through the Doklam plateau.

The Kailash Mansarovar Yatra through the Nathu La pass in Sikkim was also cancelled amid the continuing standoff.