PM Modi hits out at Pakistan, says India won’t forget Uri attack


India will not forget the militant attack that killed 18 soldiers at an army base in Kashmir, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Saturday, but tempered calls for a military retribution by challenging Pakistan to a war on poverty, unemployment and illiteracy.

In his first public comments since the Uri attack last Sunday , Modi sought to take the battle across the border by directly addressing the people of Pakistan and telling them that their rulers are “misleading” them by talking about a 1000-year war over Kashmir — an allusion to an oft-quoted remark by former Pakistan Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

In what could be interpreted as provoking Pakistan, Modi said the days are not far when the people of Pakistan will come out to fight against their rulers on the question of terrorism. He did not directly name Pakistan but mentioned the neighbouring country several times to drive home what was the recurring theme — there is only one country “that exports terror to the entire world”.

“Your (Pakistani) rulers speak of fighting India for a thousand years. Today, there is such a government in Delhi that I am ready to accept your challenge… Pakistan’s ‘awam’ (people), I want to say to you, India is ready to fight you,” Modi said.

“Come, if you have the courage, let’s fight poverty…unemployment…illiteracy. Let us fight and see who is able to end poverty first.

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