"Report By: Nina Rai
March 19, 2011: Sarah Palin, the Ex-Governor of US State of Alaska and Republican nominee for Vice-President in the 2008 US presidential elections delivered her keynote address at the last session of the two-day India Today Conclave 2011 here, in New Delhi on Saturday, March 19, 2011. Her visit to India is already generating a lot of buzz in US political circles, largely due to her potential bid for the post of US President in 2012.
Palin’s dinner speech at the conclave was on the topic 'My Vision of America', which started around 8 pm. She was introduced at the conclave to the audience by Aroon Purie, Editor in Chief, India Today, as being the first female governor of Alaska from 2006 to 2009, a Republican Vice-Presidential nominee in 2008 and author of several books. Purie in his introduction said that Palin was someone who is the kind to touch a cord with every ordinary American, as she typifies middle class America. He even informed the delegates gathered there, about Palin’s huge fan following. “She has 1.5 million followers on Facebook alone,” he pointed out.
Sarah Palin in her speech spoke highly about India’s rich history, culture and famous gift of hospitality, which she along-with her husband Todd had the privilege of enjoying. She appreciated the opportunity of getting to see some of India’s magnificent cities and hoped that she and Todd would be able to see the monument of “Eternal Love” the Taj Mahal very soon. She mentioned the fact that when “In 2008, I had the honor of meeting Prime Minister, I expressed my admiration for India's rich culture.” Touching upon the devastation in Japan, she said “Trust you (India) will join me in expressing solidarity with the people of Japan” and warmly praised the resilience, stoicism, humbleness and graciousness of the Japanese in the face of such a tragedy.
Some of the high points of her key note address were about her upbringing in Alaska, her vision for America as also Indo-US ties. She informed that her country was discovered in the age of exploration. It was the twin principles of optimism & respect for individual liberty, which shaped both her political beliefs and her vision for her country. She mentioned that as Governor of her state, her goal was to clean up corruption and develop America’s rich natural resources. According to her she had seen first hand how energy development, job creation and national security were inextricably linked to each other. She said that while she was a conservationist and a great believer of the green revolution, in her opinion promotion of 'green' at the expense of 'conventional, reliable' sources was not a credible energy policy or economic policy. She opined “Our need for energy independence is only one of the strategic challenges we face today.” Many people have predicted the demise of America's demise before, however, “it didn't happen then, it won't happen now,” she stated emphatically.
Palin praised India by saying “Today we speak of India as a dynamic and a very vibrant economy." Speaking of Indo-US ties, she said the relationship between the two countries could go on to shape the course of the next century. She said that Indian entrepreneurs are investing in the US, even as US businesses were expanding in India. She even went on to express her admiration for India's tradition of strong women leaders both at home and abroad. Comparing both the countries, she said that our ties and bonds are very deep and driven by free peoples.
Both countries empower individuals, show religious tolerance, and believe in women’s education and narrowing gender gaps. Touching upon the theme of the Conclave ‘Changing Balance of Power,' she said that throughout the world today, it is driven by the “empowerment of the individual,” which both the countries are doing. She said her country has for long been known for its rags-to-riches stories. And now India too, is. Moreover, she said both the two democracies understood the struggle for freedom, after what they had gone through in the past. She said she was indeed thankful for the free trade that they were engaged in currently.
About her vision for America, she said America need to cut spending, which will lead to job growth, promote free markets and ordinary entrepreneurs to release creative energy. She lauded Regan’s tenure as Mayor in 1980’s. He brought many reforms then, through free economic choices, she said. Palin in-fact considered Reagan as her role model along with. According to her “What America can show the world is what is possible...Yes, may we be free….Thank you & God bless you
With regard to problems in other nations of the world, like Libya and China, Palin declared that America can support a no-fly zone but not a direct military intervention on the ground. She also expressed the military concerns of US with regard to China and said they need to be vigilant as to what China was doing as it was stockpiling ammunitions even when they had no visible enemy in sight.
With regard to a question on whether she would fight for US Presidential post in 2012, responded by saying there were a lot of gals out there, who would make good presidential candidates, thereby deftly avoiding a direct answer. The India Today Conclave 2011 came to a close with a gala dinner hosted for all the guests and dignitaries by the hosts"