While in India, President Barack Obama is poised to walk a tight rope. Pre-trip speculations in India, centred on unrealistic "deliverables" like agreements on export controls, resolution of the nuclear liability problem, military supply agreements, cooperation in the domain of upper space and an American nod for a permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council. Actually, Obama does not have a "deliverable" of the size and magnitude as his predecessors. However, there will be a few run-of-the-mill agreements on security and economic cooperation, including the military sales like C-17 military transport aircraft. There could be symbolic touching of some other domains as well. But the gap between the expectations and the reality of this summit is likely to be enormous, which could be made up by louder oratory about renewed commitment of close cooperation on high-sounding ideals, mostly the intangibles. Symbolically, India is all set to generate pressure waves against Pakistan. So making 26/11 commemoration at Taj Hotel, as the starting event of Obama's visit is squarely aimed at that. Likewise, the issue of David Headley has recently been stirred up for a similar purpose. This dubious RAW-CIA agent is known for maligning Pakistani institutions, on behest of its pay masters, especially in connection with the unfortunate Mumbai incident of 26/11. Nevertheless, Obama's visit is taking place when US-India relations are in a recession. This was so because Delhi feels that even after obliging America through a multi-billion dollar investment in Afghanistan, Washington is not confirming India's status as heir apparent in the post-US Afghanistan. It is expected that Washington is unlikely to sponsor the kind of military role that the Indian leadership envisages to have in the war-torn country. Likewise, the US is perturbed over India that instead of reciprocating a favour - i.e. Agreement 123 - it has literally closed the door for American firms by inserting a clause in its domestic liabilities statute that binds the suppliers for compensation in case of an accident. The Civil Liability for the Nuclear Damages Bill (2010) was envisaged to be the last stage towards completion of the dubious civilian nuclear deal. However, now it effectively undermines the (ulterior) motives for which America concluded the dubious Agreement 123. Meanwhile, the Indian legislation is inconsistent with the existing international standards governing nuclear commerce, which places liability exclusively with the operator of a nuclear reactor, while immunising its suppliers. The Indian law, nonetheless, renders both suppliers and operators liable for 80 years after the construction of the reactor. Hence, India's post-haste to join the Convention on Supplementary Compensation for Nuclear Damage is not likely to divert attention from an anti-America domestic law. The Kashmir issue is another point of disagreement. The uprising of the youth in the occupied valley this summer should not be ignored by the US President. During the recent months there have been numerous incidents of brutal use of force by the Indian security forces in IHK. In this context, many human rights violations there have been brought to light by many international agencies of repute. Prior to reverting to the status of 'Candidate Obama', for re-election, the incumbent President should make sincere efforts for the settlement of Kashmir dispute. Otherwise, his credibility is at stake. If the Indians do not fall in line, Obama will have little option but to have direct contact with the parties representing political resistance against the Indian occupation of Kashmir, say on the pattern of presidential liaisons with Dalai Lama. In the same vein, his vision of a nuclear weapons free world is held hostage too intricately (read mischievously) intertwined by the Indian policies of nuclear security and power generation. India has already piled up 1,300 tons of reactor grade fissile material churned out by its nuclear power reactors over the previous years. One of the Indian nuclear explosions of 1998 was done by using reactor grade Plutonium. It is this conundrum that has compelled Pakistan to block the negotiations on Fissile Material Treaty (FMT) at the Conference of Disarmament. Despite pressuring Pakistan on the FMT issue, the US knows it well that the spoiler is someone else - obviously, India. Pakistan's principal worry is the perpetually snowballing disparity with the Indian stockpile of fissile material, which threatens the strategic stability in the region. Current impasse on FMT emanates from India's nuclear energy policy, rather than its nuclear strategy. Also, India's ambitious plans for Fast Breeder Reactor (FBR) have serious implications for nuclear stability in the region. Therefore, any progress on FMT would only be possible if India is willing to separate the domains of nuclear energy from that of nuclear security. Moreover, China is likely to figure extensively in the private talks. Since cold war days, India has been on USA's retainership, as a cheap deterrent against China. Now, China has outgrown the capacity of this deterrence. America views China as a cornerstone of Asian stability; this is nightmarish for the Indian strategists, who continue to live in yesteryears. And with Japan, China and Russia firm and fit, the Indian dream of regional leadership is in disarray. So basically there is not much that Obama can do to alter Asia's natural power equilibrium. The US is betting the future of its role in Asia on the development of broad-based diverse power structures, of which India is only a small component. Recently, India's multiple weaknesses have been exposed. Management of the Commonwealth Games has demonstrated that India still has the capacities of a typical developing state. While reporting that it is home of the largest population of hungry in the world, the Global Hunger Index 2010 has placed India in the pit of shame. It was ranked 67th among 84 hungry countries of the world. Then an international report submitted by Save the Children Fund on the eve of recent UN Summit on Millennium Development Goals shows that over 5,000 children succumb to malnutrition everyday; India has once again topped the global ranking. UN Human Resource Index 2010 places India at 119th position out of 169 countries. The recent anti-outsourcing legislation by America and the ensuing rise in visa fees for Indian companies would cast a shadow over the trade talks. The business process industry brings billions of dollars to India each year; it employs around two million personnel. The new legislation is expected to cost Indian IT enterprises up to $200 million per year. Keeping in view, the urgency of creating more jobs for the Americans, President Obama will not be able to alter the relevant law. Much of the apparent strength of US-India relations is illusory. From Indian perspective, it is based on its eagerness to strengthen negative images like anti-China and anti-Pakistan monopoly over the Indian Ocean, undercover vertical nuclear proliferation, weaponisation of outer space. Washington can no longer afford to carry along such baggage. The only way forward for the US is to work more closely with China. The stark reality is, thus, an ascendant China and a beleaguered US, groping for a way out of Asia. Overwhelming convergence of strategic interests between Washington and Delhi is unlikely. Despite Obama's compulsion to accrue Indian contracts for USA's cash starved military industrial complex, he is not likely to cross redlines in his administration's policies towards Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and may be Iran; just to appease India. The summit is likely to be more of style than substance. The writer is a retired air commodore of Pakistan Air Force. Email: khalid3408@gmail.com