Kozhikode (Kerala) - After failure of attempts to intimidate Pakistan through threats of militarily action, India yesterday challenged its neighbor to compete with it in a ‘war on illiteracy, poverty and unemployment’.

At a public rally in Calicut city of Kerala state, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi took to addressing Pakistani people directly, telling them they were being ‘duped’ by their rulers on Kashmir.

His comments came only days after Premier Nawaz Sharif effectively raised the issue of atrocities being committed in India-occupied Kashmir (IOK) where Indian forces have unleashed a tyranny on the innocent people demanding right to self-determination.

This was Modi’s first speech since the Uri attack in which he lashed out at Pakistan and warned its leadership that the ‘terror attack’ will not be forgotten, and India will “totally isolate Pakistan in the international arena for exporting terror”.

Even before an investigation, India jumped to blame Pakistan for the militant attack in which 18 Indian soldiers had died. PM Sharif said the other day it could be reaction (from the Kashmiri freedom fighters).

The relations between the two countries frayed since the unrest broke out in Kashmir following the death of a popular freedom fighter Burhan Wani, but they became particularly tense following the Uri attack.

While Pakistani Premier was in New York to address the UNGA, India, in an effort to deflect world attention from Kashmir, kept thundering against Pakistan and giving an impression that war could break out between the two nuclear nations. But, now that the UNGA time is over, Modi has performed another somersault by challenging Pakistan on poverty reduction in yet another bid to keep the focus off Kashmir.

Hitting hard at Pakistan over the Uri attack, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said there was a sense of anger among the Indians. Repeating Indian accusations on Pakistan of ‘exporting terror’, he said the sacrifices of 18 soldiers will not go in vain.

In a dig at Pakistan PM Sharif for his address at the UNGA, Modi said: “Today’s rulers were reading a speech of patrons of terrorism (a reference to Pak Army) and talking of Kashmir.”

“Rulers of Pakistan listen… India has been successful in isolating you. We will force you to be left alone in the world. That day is not far when people of Pakistan will take to streets to fight against the rulers and fight terrorism,” Modi said.

Referring to remarks of former Pakistani leaders of fighting a 1,000 year war with India, he said: “There is a government in Delhi today which is ready to accept the challenge… I want to tell the people of Pakistan that India is ready to fight you,” he said, adding that both countries should fight against poverty, unemployment and illiteracy — “let’s see who wins”.

In a direct attack on ‘terrorists’, Modi said they should heed his words that India will not forget Uri incident. He also claimed of foiling 17 recent attempts by ‘terrorists’ to infiltrate.

The Indian PM said: “The people of Pakistan should ask their rulers… PoK is with you, you can’t even manage that. Earlier, East Pakistan, now Bangladesh, was with you, you could not manage that. You are unable to manage PoK (Pakistan Occupied Kashmir), Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan and Balochistan, and you are talking of (Indian Occupied) Kashmir… They are misleading you on Kashmir,” he said.

He said both countries became independent at the same time. “So how is it that India exports software, but you (Pakistan) export terrorists.” He said that terrorism is affecting India’s neighbours, including Afghanistan and Bangladesh.

“In the world when reports of terrorism come, then this news also follows that the terrorists came from that (neighbouring) country, or like Osama bin Laden, have found a hideout there.”