In first public address after Kashmir terror strike, Indian PM Modi addresses people of Pakistan

Mr blamed Pakistan for 'exporting' the terrorists who carried out the attack on the Indian army camp in Kashmir last Sunday. (Image source: Mr Modi's Twitter page.) Photograph:( Twitter )

Kozhikode, India Sep 24, 2016, 03.26 PM (IST)

Speaking at a national meet of his party the BJP in India's southern state of Kerala on Saturday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to directly address the people of Pakistan.

The Indian Prime Minister challenged the people of Pakistan to a fight -- but one to end poverty, unemployment, and illiteracy in his first speech after the Uri attack in Kashmir in which 18 Indian soldiers had been killed.

"Let us see which country wins, India or Pakistan," he said.

Modi said both India and Pakistan will win when they stand together and speak in one voice.

But while he extended an olive branch to the people of Pakistan, it wasn't all sugary sweet. Prime Minister Modi also adopted a harder tone, and warned Pakistan that the Uri attack would not be forgotten by India.

"Terrorists should hear out clearly that India will never forget the Uri attack.... I want to tell the leadership of Pakistan that the sacrifice of our 18 jawans (soldiers) will not go in vain," Modi said at a public meeting held on the Kozhikode beach on the sidelines of the BJP's national meet.

Referring to the country again, he said: "India has never bowed before terrorists, and it never will. Because of one country, the entire continent of Asia is beleaguered with terrorism. The country wants blood, wants to kill innocents and is stuck to doing that.”

And he blamed Pakistan for "exporting" the terrorists who carried out the attack on the Indian army camp in Kashmir last Sunday.

"The leaders of the neighbouring country who read out scripts written by terrorists are singing the Kashmir song. Today from here, I want to talk to people of Pakistan directly. I want to remind them that before 1947, your forefathers had saluted this land," he said.

He went on to add that every terrorist attack in South Asia -- be it Bangladesh or Afghanistan -- can be traced back to Pakistan. And that the country was responsible for harbouring terrorists.

"Every nation is holding only one country responsible for terrorism. Only one country in Asia is safe haven for terrorists. This is the only country engaged in exporting terror across the world.

"Terrorism is enemy of humanity. Humanitarians all over the world have to unite and condemn terror," he said.

Mr Modi asked the people of Pakistan to question their leaders.

"You should ask your leaders why they were not able to handle PoK, erstwhile Bangladesh, Pakhtunistan, Gilgit and Balochistan and were trying to mislead you by talking about Kashmir," he said.

He told them their government cannot "handle" Pakistan-controlled Kashmir but misleads its own people by talking about Kashmir.

"Ask them, you can't handle Gilgit, PoK, Balochistan which is with you, then why mislead people by talking of Kashmir?”

The 21st century is Asia's century, Mr Modi said, but that added that one country was hindering the continent's success. He was of course referring again to Pakistan.

"All countries in Asia is working forward to make sure that 21st century becomes Asia's 21st century except one country. There is one nation in Asia whose aim is this century does not become Asia's and is associated with terrorism. Question is not only about India, everywhere this is one country which is exporting terrorism everywhere," he said. 

(WION, with inputs from DNA and PTI)