New Delhi: Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to the United States has not led to any ‘diplomatic blockbuster’ as was being speculated in a section of the American media. But it has left enough for Indian strategic thinkers and policymakers to mull over, The Hindu newspaper in an editorial Monday reminded the Indian leadership.

The newspaper says the joint statement by Mr. Sharif and Mr. Obama indicates a broad continuity in U.S. policy in South Asia, especially compared with the 2013 joint statement by them. At the same time, it demonstrates a higher degree of U.S. sensitivity to Pakistani concerns, which has direct implications for India. The continuing volatility in the security situation in Afghanistan, Pakistan’s battles with the demons within, and its relations with India were broadly the three topics that dominated Mr. Sharif’s discussions with his U.S. interlocutors, with terrorism as a theme that spanned all three topics.

The newspaper said  the visit and its stated outcomes undermine an increasingly fashionable strategic theory that an emerging polarisation is giving shape to two axes in South Asia – Pakistan and China on the one side and the U.S. and India on the other.

As a U.S. official who briefed the Indian media put it candidly, the U.S. has global intentions that will not allow it to choose between Pakistan and India, or tilt towards either of them. He went on to clarify that relations with Pakistan and India stand on their individual merits. India should not misread the energy and intensity in its relationship with the U.S., demonstrated most recently during the Strategic and Commercial Dialogue and the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Obama last month, as U.S. willingness to jettison Pakistan.

It said Pakistan continues to leverage its strategic location at the frontier of Afghanistan and China, and to a lesser extent, India. The U.S. appears clear that its South Asia policy involves a composite approach involving India, Pakistan and Afghanistan in its search for stability and peace, as well as of the fact that Pakistan is an important partner in the fight against global terrorism. The joint statement and the anticipated decisions – which will possibly include the sale of new F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan and the continuation of the Coalition Support Fund beyond 2016 – make it clear that the U.S. cannot afford to, and will not, overlook Pakistan’s significance as a regional strategic player. It will be unwise and ill-advised for India to assume it would be so, it concluded.