ISLAMABAD - The United States has clearly showed its tilt towards India by denying an ‘India-type’ civil nuclear deal and is still pushing Islamabad to ‘do more’ in the fight against terrorism.

Ahead of the much anticipated meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Barrack Obama, top diplomat Sartaj Aziz had shown concerns about the US tilt towards India saying it was promoting imbalance in South Asia.

He claimed Pakistan’s reservations against India had already been conveyed to the US. “It seems the US is preparing India to reduce China’s influence in the region,” feared Aziz.

The joint statement after the Sharif-Obama meeting, however, had a lollypop for Pakistan. It called for ceasefire along the Line of Control and resolution of the Kashmir issue through talks.

It also spoke about ‘maximum restraint’ and joint efforts to strengthen strategic stability in South Asia.

Before Sharif embarked on the journey to Washington, there were reports that the US was ready to help Pakistan join the Nuclear Suppliers Group if it accepted certain restrictions on its nuclear programme. But Pakistan had emphatically rejected any compromise on the nuclear programme which dimmed the chances of any progress on this subject even before the two leaders met.

A report by Chicago-based think tank Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists says Pakistan is on track to become the world’s fifth largest nuclear power by 2025. It predicts that Pakistan’s stockpile of nuclear weapons will more than double over the next decade from its current arsenal of 110 to 130 warheads. The joint statement also mentioned the “continuing threat of nuclear terrorism” and commitment to work jointly.

Despite Washington’s pro-India approach, Prime Minister Sharif termed his talks with President Obama as “very positive and constructive.”

The premier said he had informed the US President the centrality of the Kashmir dispute in reducing tension between the two countries and for lasting peace. Sharif maintained President Obama agreed Kashmir issue needs to be resolved through pursuing an effective mechanism.

A senior Pakistani diplomat said there was apparently nothing to cheer about the Sharif-Obama meeting for Islamabad.

“There is mention of Kashmir and LoC but these words can be even expected from any country any time. No international leader, even if hostile to Pakistan, would say there should be war for Kashmir or LoC firing must continue,” he explained.

He said Pakistani should not be too optimistic about the ‘determination’ expressed in the joint statement to promote deeper, stronger, multi-dimensional partnership based on mutual respect, trust and understanding.

“These are formalities. This sort of statement would come even if you meet with Uganda’s leaders. We are looking for concrete things and there is hardly any. If they can sign a civil nuclear deal with India then why not Pakistan,” he contended.

He said Sharif can be happy that President Obama has supported democracy in Pakistan “which is a good news for the ruling party.”

The diplomat acknowledged that the desire to expand bilateral relationship in trade and investment, education, science and technology, clean, efficient and affordable energy, economic growth, regional integration, rule of law, people-to-people and cultural ties and support for democratic principles was also positive.

“The US has not firmly backed us on the Afghanistan issue and the Indian aggression. This means they don’t trust us too much. Let’s see if we can enhance defence ties. The ‘do more’ element still seems dominant,” he added.

The New York Times reported the Obama administration may sell eight F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan despite Washington’s reservations about Pakistan's growing nuclear arsenal. The aircraft sales, which the US Congress could block, would be a symbolic step given Pakistan’s current large fleet of fighter jets, the report said.

International Relations expert Dr Huma Baqai said Pakistan has handed over the evidences of Indian involvement in Pakistan’s terrorism incidents and insurgency and it was now the responsibility of US to stop India.

“It is good the US has supported the dialogue process. We need to resolve all the outstanding issues through talks for the sake of peace and prosperity in the region,” she remarked.

Defence analyst Lt. General Amjad Shoaib (retd) said Pakistan has to act on the policy of give and take. “US is the super power and prioritises its national interests only. The US wants to utilize India against another emerging economic power China. So, US is making certain deals with India in defence sector to make use of India against China,” he added.

He recalled Sartaj Aziz’s statement that India-US relations could result in destabilising the balance of power in the region.

He said Washington was in a state of frustration because of the Taliban resurgence in the presence of US forces in Afghanistan.

“President Obama naturally wants Pakistan to play its role for peace in Afghanistan because without the support of Pakistan peace in Afghanistan is impossible,” he observed.