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Netanyahu Disrupts 3rd Raisina Dialogue

Managing Disruptive Transitions: Ideas, Institutions and Idioms” was the theme of this year’s iteration of Raisina Dialogue – 3rd Edition, on 16, 17 & 18 January 2018 that featured Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj. As Swaraj later pointed out, this was a ‘rare’ occasion that Netanyahu was on the stage and “Modi was in the crowd”. And on the other, perhaps more pertinently, it was the content of Netanyahu’s speech that acted as the true disruptive element.

  • Netanyahu went turbo-realist in his opening statements stating, “The weak don’t survive. The strong survive. You make peace with the strong. You ally with the strong.”
  • Netanyahu spoke of the four types of power a country must possess in order to be strong:
    • Military power,
    • Economic power,
    • Political power and
    • Power of values.


The most striking part of his entire little sub-section on power was the line: “I like soft power. Hard power is often better.” No other line could sum up the tone of his speech as succinctly.

  • Netanyahu noted that he was ‘astounded to know’ that Modi had brought India’s Ease of Doing Business ranking up 42 places in the past three years.
  • He added, “If you want to have economic power, you must reduce and simplify taxes”, in acknowledgment of the Modi government’s Goods and Services Tax (GST) rollout.


Raisina Dialogue, a multilateral conference held annually in New Delhi, is committed to addressing the most challenging issues facing the global community. Every year, global leaders in policy, business, media and civil society are hosted in New Delhi to discuss cooperation on a wide range of pertinent international policy matters. The Dialogue is structured as a multi-stakeholder, cross-sectoral discussion, involving heads of state, cabinet ministers and local government officials, as well as major private sector executives, members of the media and academics. The conference is hosted by the Observer Research Foundation in collaboration with the Government of India, Ministry of External Affairs. Designed on the lines of Singapore’s Shangri-La Dialogue, the conference has since its inception in 2016, emerged as India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geo-economics. The name “Raisina Dialogue” comes from Raisina Hill, an elevation in New Delhi that is home to the Government of India, as well as the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

1st Raisina Dialogue was held from March 1 to 3, 2016. Over 100 speakers from over 35 countries attended to speak on the theme, “Asia: Regional and Global Connectivity”. The focus of the 2016 conference was on Asia’s physical, economic, human and digital connectivity. Panels and discussions explored opportunities and challenges for the region to manage its common spaces, as well as the global partnerships needed to develop common pathways in this century.

2nd Edition of Raisina Dialogue was held from January 17 to19, 2017 on a larger scale, with over 120 speakers from 65 countries. The Theme of the Dialogue was, “The New Normal: Multilateralism with Multi-Polarity” where Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi in his inaugural address  spoke of vasudev kutumbakam: countries can only progress if they do so together.

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