On Saturday, Sep. 25, 2016, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed Pakistan for the first time. This address occurred in the wake of the Uri attacks, in which four terrorists snuck into an army camp and killed 18 soldiers. Modi confronted Pakistan on the attacks, saying, “We are ready to fight you if you have the courage.”
However, the war he declared was not one on the Pakistani people, but on poverty in India and in Pakistan. Modi, whose platform is buttressed with promises to uplift the poor, reiterated his pledge for the 21st century: freedom from poverty, injustice, unemployment, corruption and acts of violence against women. Modi’s war on poverty in India would work to not only make strides towards these goals in his country of India, but to neighboring countries like Pakistan.
Though Pakistan has made big strides toward reducing absolute poverty since 1991, unrest in the country and natural disasters have made many of its citizens vulnerable to falling below the poverty line. Pakistan is also behind other countries in terms of educational and health benefits for its citizens.
Keeping its citizens educated and healthy would provide Pakistan with a wealth of resources with which to bolster the country’s economy and the quality of life for its workers. India’s war on poverty, if Modi’s challenge is accepted, would be hugely beneficial not only to Pakistan but to the global community. Putting an end to poverty in Pakistan would not only help its people but its neighbors. Ending poverty is as important for peace and stability as it is for economic development.
So, India is ready for war — a war on poverty, a war on underemployment, a war on illiteracy and infant mortality and maternal deaths. According to Modi, “Let both countries fight to see who would eradicate poverty first.” Though Prime Minister Modi has challenged Pakistan to see who wins the war on poverty in India, this is a war nobody will lose.
– Kayla Provencher