In the end, Pakistan wasn't the unspoken elephant in the room when U.S. President Barack Obama sat down for talks with Indian leaders. Far from tip-toeing around India's Pakistan problem which complicates America's own troubled war there and in Afghanistan, Obama spoke clearly and squarely.
Safe havens for militants in Pakistan wouldn't be tolerated, he said, in what was music to Indian ears. But he also left nobody in doubt Washington wanted India to improve ties with Pakistan, saying New Delhi had the greatest stake in the troubled neighbour's stability.
But the one elephant that the leaders of India and the United States didn't name but which was written all over the flurry of announcements made during the three-day trip was China. Beginning with the headline-grabbing endorsement of India's bid for a permanent place on the U.N. Security Council to maritime cooperation and a surprise partnership to promote food security in Africa, the United States seems to have gone the extra mile to bolster New Delhi's credentials as a global player.
The one country that would be watching this most closely is China where some would see America's deepening ties with India, a continent-size country with a billion-plus people, as aimed at countering its rise.
B.Raman, a former head of India's Research and Analysis wing, writes that the announcement by India and the United States to work together for stability in the Indian Ocean region as well as the Pacific will draw concern in Beijing, which has its own fears of U.S. encirclement.