Just ahead of his three-day visit to India US president Barack Obama has said some harsh words for Pakistan in an interview, calling on the government to dismantle terrorist safe havens and to punish those behind the Mumbai attacks. This is the first time Obama has publicly accused Pakistan, a “key strategic ally” of harbouring terrorists. Analysts say that Obama is likely to talk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue of how the two nuclear-armed neighbours can resume dialogue and reduce their hostilities. But knowing India and the US, it is quite unlikely that they will talk of a sustainable solution to the India-Pakistan faceoff, and instead focus on what they can get out of any deals between themselves. According to Sherry Rehman, an ex-ambassador to Washington, India-Pakistan relations are the worse they have been since the Mumbai 2008 attacks, and Obama’s trip is only escalating suspicions.

For India, Obama’s visit is seen as a sign that the US is ready to engage New Delhi without a corresponding outreach to Islamabad. The US has been generous in its praise for India and even India’s role in Afghanistan, something that has been making Pakistan feel insecure for some time now. Obama praised India’s contribution to the reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan saying: “We are grateful for the generous assistance that India has provided over many years to help the Afghan people improve their lives.” There is no one to tell the US, that with a powerful and aggressive India, who will help improve the lives of the Pakistani people? Or the people of Kashmir? In this game of power, the visit is a transition point in US foreign policy. As the US has a new ally, one that was neglected so far, having been considered undependable. But a leopard can always change its spots.